Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Verizon Embraces Google's Android

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the hard-to-hug-a-robot dept.

Businesses 148

An anonymous reader writes "BusinessWeek has up an article on Verizon's decision to fully support Android. After passing on the iPhone, the company says they're going to open their network to more devices, move their network to GSM-based radio technology (LTE), and now support Android. 'In an open-access model, though, Verizon Wireless won't offer the same level of customer service as it does for the roughly 50 phone models featured in its handset lineup. Though the company will insist on testing all phones developed to run on its network in the open-access program, Verizon plans only to ensure the wireless connection is working for customers who buy those devices.'"

cancel ×

148 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I Feel A Sudden Pain (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574013)

In all of the diodes down my left side.

Re:I Feel A Sudden Pain (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574317)

In all of the diodes down my left side.
That's the crushing effect of Verizon embracing your android too tightly.
 

Re:I Feel A Sudden Pain (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575451)

I have a feeling Verizon would ask to have your android's GPP disabled to be able to run on their network

That's about as exciting as being (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574099)

a guest judge for a turd battle on the Iron Chef.

I'll past on seconds.

sounds pretty kinky (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574115)

Are these the battle lines draw against Apple/ATT

Is this Vondafone vs Apple? (2, Insightful)

piltdownman84 (853358) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574819)

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't a big chunk of Verizon owned by Vodafone? Vodafone got a temporary injunction issued against T-Mobile in Germany, and now this. Is Vodafone is going to war?

Re:sounds pretty kinky (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575485)

"Are these the battle lines draw against Apple/ATT" Nope, it is the decoy... the real enemy has however spottet the threat: a Microsoft executive (Klaus Holse Andersen, corporate vice president of Microsoft Danmark) in Denmark has commented the Android "There is nothing new in Android" [computerworld.dk] (link to danish Computerworld).
I've roughly translated his statement from that article here: "Googles Android do not add anything new to the mobile platform. We can already do everything what Google tries to do with Android. I think Google will have a big problem getting operators and manufacturers to use their platform."
---so the enemy do know... and they can see the threat... and the danger for them in this situation is much worse than usually: people do not care what's inside their cell phone as long as it works.

wary (5, Insightful)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574133)

I feel like when it comes to open networks, Verizon has always been that evil master that enslaves you and hits you with a rolled up magazine. It makes me wary that it's now trying to give us this treat of promises of open networks...
Something tells me they're just trying to lure us in so they can get a better swing with their magazine.

Re:wary (1)

autocracy (192714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574341)

I've always refused to use Verizon for that exact reason of how they are with their network and services. I'll wait and see what they do with their network, but if they're serious and do open up, I'll be happy to move to them, especially if they adopt GSM and use SIM cards.

GEE! (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574375)

No, GTE. [naproom.mu.nu]

Re:wary (4, Insightful)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574519)

Speaking as someone who is stuck on the Verizon network I say THANK GOD. My biggest complaint with Verizon is their OS. They have it on every phone and it's an unwieldy piece of crap. They might be a corporate super giant but they seem to be realizing that people don't like being fucked with. At first we just wanted good service, this is now their advertising corner stone. Then we had to teach that when you say unlimited you have to mean it [slashdot.org] . So they might be looking at things like Android and seriously consider it. A better OS for their phones that other people will take care of for them? Sounds like a good deal. I just hope to see something good from them soon because their iPhone want-a-be is the best they have and it still sucks [verizonwireless.com]

Re:wary (3, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576277)

Except they already sell phones with capabilities you want today. Well, the phones could have those capabilities, as the phone manufacturer already developed the hardware [the phone] and the software for those capabilities, but Verizon made them scrap that software AFTER it was developed and QA'ed, and forced them to develop new software without those capabilities you want.

This is just PR, as they don't want to publicly admit you could already have access to phones TODAY [as Verizon has already certified them for use on their networks] with the features you want [well, more of them, anyway] except Verizon has intentionally crippled them, just by saying, wait a year, and we'll certify new advanced phones with more features [implying no such phones exist today].

Re:wary (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576717)

and the software for those capabilities, but Verizon made them scrap that software AFTER it was developed and QA'ed, and forced them to develop new software without those capabilities you want.
Very true. But I'm hoping that they scrap the software because they want to trouble shoot a single OS. I don't blame them. The problem is their OS sucks. So with Android behind them they could reduce the amount software they have to work on so they can focus on their shitty "get it now" software and let me install stuff I want with my phone. Aside from losing the ability to fully control what people put on their phone It's a total win for them. And if they think that they can get away with controlling every thing that I put on my phone I'll be off their network ASAP. As it is they almost lost me with the iPhone. They got lucky that the iPhone was locked down and that there was talk of the gPhone or else I would have moved.

Re:wary (1)

el_gordo101 (643167) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576617)

I lucked out and got a Motorola e815 from Verizon. The e815 uses the original Motorola UI which is so much better than the one Verizon foists on their users. My wife got a Motorola Razr at the same time, and I can't stand using her phone. Convoluted menu options, ugly fonts, ugly white text on red background theme, hard to use contacts screen, etc. Same phone manufacturer, same provider, very different user experience between the two.

Re:wary (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576861)

Yeah I know the feeling. Their OS sucks in such a weird way. It's not that it can't do things it's just that it's so unpleasant when ever you use it to do anything. I had a friend who was moving to Verizon a little after I made the same move. We were both in positions where we HAD to switch to Verizon. I warned him that I got the env and while the phone it self is ok but the OS sucks and is almost all their phones. I showed him the phone and he did not think it was that bad. But the day he got it he called me to tell me how much he hated it.

Re:wary (1)

amigabill (146897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574857)

By going with CDMA, Verizon was only able to enslave a portion of the market in USA. If they want to grow and expand, and enslave consumers in Europe, Asia, etc. then they have to choose to go with their standards. They're probably also miffed that they lose out on charging international call rates if we Americans go travelling, because our phones don't work anywhere else. You can still be paranoid, because surely the only reason Verizon would open up and go standard for is to increase the number of people Verizon can mush around under their giant thumb. :)

VZN, just a wolf in android-sheep's clothing (1)

dbdweeb (598548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575683)

VZN is just trying to lull Google to sleep so VZN can buy/control the spectrum for less. The worst thing Google could do is trust any of the remnants of MA Bell. If any part of the MA Bell cartel gets this spectrum it will be anything but open. We need open handsets AND open access to networks with spectrum viable for mobile devices. One without the other will perpetuate closed markets.

Google dreams... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574135)

...of robotic sheep.

This is good news (5, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574143)

LTE is especially good news. It's an open standard, it similar underlying technologies to WiMAX and like WiMAX is all-IP - you can run any protocol over it you can run over the Internet, because your LTE device is an Internet connected terminal. Unlike WiMAX various protocols are standardized on top of it, so an LTE "phone" is still charge up, and plug in the SIM card, and go in much the same way as a GSM phone is today.

It's going to be hard for me to shake my impression of Verizon as a bunch of psychotic control freaks: maybe the Vodafone influence is finally having an affect. It'll be nice to have a third national operator with a genuinely open network that's worth considering. Being stuck with two GSM operators, one stuck with poor spectrum, the other barely giving a rats-ass about quality of service, sucks.

Re:This is good news (2, Interesting)

yurik (160101) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574225)

Am I correct that with Verizon, being one of the few remaining non-GSM providers, CDMA is scheduled to disappear from North America? Does it still mean the multiple frequencies will remain, thus EU-GSM will stay on separate frequencies with US-GSM ?

Re:This is good news (4, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574445)

It's hard to tell what the long term future of IS-95/CDMA2000 (TIA standards) is. The 4G road map is a technology called Ultra Mobile Broadband, this is the TIA world's equivalent of LTE, but nobody has, thus far, expressed any interest in it.

Sprint is dabbling in WiMAX, though its deprecated its projects in that area of late. It did, at one point, experiment with a version of UMTS (GSM) called UMTS-TDD but ultimately rejected it in favor of WiMAX, so they're open-minded enough to consider things that fall outside of the narrow TIA systems.

Alltel, I believe, hasn't made any decisions or said anything about 4G. Between them, Alltel, Verizon, and Sprint are the three major CDMA2000 operators. As long as one of those operators remains tied to CDMA2000, it's unlikely the system will die completely.

Frequencies is an issue of local legislation and doesn't have much to do with standards. It's going to get worse in Europe too, as phones currently support GSM on 1800 and 900, and UMTS on 2100/1900, and are now going to have to support GSM on 450MHz and UMTS on 900 and 1800. As time goes by, the number of frequencies every handset supports is just going to go through the roof, even if the phone is only supposed to work in one region.

I think this is going to end up being a fight between WiMAX and LTE, with UMB getting relatively little support. While WiMAX is better known to geeks, it's no more open nor more efficient than LTE. LTE is arguably slightly better in supporting SIM cards, so ultimately if I had a choice, I'd prefer the latter to "win". But both are likely to have wide support across the world, it's unlikely that the same ideological differences that caused the CDMA vs GSM thing to be a mess will happen this time.

Re:This is good news (1)

eobanb (823187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576829)

Not to mention that the imminent 700 MHz auction means mobile devices will probably also have to support that band, also.

Time for software-defined radio, anyone?

Ok, I get it now... (4, Insightful)

Crazy Taco (1083423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574357)

Ok, I get it now. I've been trying to figure out why a company that is so closed and so anti-consumer most of the time (I happen to be a current subscriber and hate them, especially after they automatically extended my contract when I got married and wanted to consolidate cell phone plans with my wife, who was also a Verizon customer) would be suddenly opening up their network, not restricting software, etc. After reading these quotes from the article, though, I do get it now.

When Verizon Wireless was founded in 2000, it ran 27 call centers to provide customer service. The company cut back to as few as 17 centers at one point, but the count is now back to 25, each with about a thousand employees. The company's 2,300 stores, staffed by 20,000 employees, are also costly. While workers in those stores used to spend nearly the entire day signing up new customers, now only a tenth of their time is consumed by new subscribers. Instead, the bulk of their energy goes to helping current subscribers with questions and problems. McAdam & Co. decided the business model was not sustainable. "If we get to 150 million customers, boy, that's a lot of overhead," says McAdam.

In an open-access model, though, Verizon Wireless won't offer the same level of customer service as it does for the roughly 50 phone models featured in its handset lineup. Though the company will insist on testing all phones developed to run on its network in the open-access program, Verizon plans only to ensure the wireless connection is working for customers who buy those devices. "They have to talk to their handset provider or their application provider if they have particular issues," McAdam says.

Reading between the lines, you can tell they don't like the fact that they have to support their customers. Things were great when they were just signing up customers right and left and didn't have to do much support, but now that they have to actually support their subscribers they don't like it. So basically, this "opening" is just a way for them to support their customers even less, and dump as much of the support on the handset providers as possible. The company strategy is still about helping the consumer as little as possible and screwing them over as much as possible; it just happens that that is now most easily done with an open network.

Re:Ok, I get it now... (5, Insightful)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574547)

And you know what? I can't really blame them. Handset support should fall to Motorola/Samsung/Apple. If something like a calendar application on your phone is buggy, why should Verizon be trying to deal with it. The handset makers made it, have them fix it. I do realize that Verizon has pushed certain things onto the manufacturers like using their UI, etc. But I would much rather see the original software on a phone. So I guess I can't complain to much. By loosening their restrictions, Verizon will actually be saving money AND making their customers happier. And I, as a Verizon customer am now seriously considering staying with them. I was all amped up to dump them and go with ATT and the iPhone next August, but now I'm thinking of staying on for a bit.

Re:Ok, I get it now... (1)

Metaphorically (841874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575053)

If something like a calendar application on your phone is buggy, why should Verizon be trying to deal with it.


While I have no sympathy whatever for the bloodsucking carriers, I agree that the underlying problems is that there's some really complex software on the phones and all users needs can't be met by customer service at any one company. I don't think the OEMs can do it either though. Just like computer software the only way to really scale it is by letting users help users. And open platforms make that easier to do than closed ones.

I've been messing around with Android and I'm really looking forward to seeing what comes next. I'm hoping that the networks aren't ready for the disruptive change that's coming and we can see some real competition with some real new faces.

Re:Ok, I get it now... (4, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575089)

Handset support should fall to Motorola/Samsung/Apple. If something like a calendar application on your phone is buggy, why should Verizon be trying to deal with it?

Verizon had to 'deal with it' because they insist on using non-standard firmware to disable features that circumvent their revenue stream model. Why do you think my Razr can't transfer images and ringtones via Bluetooth? Because that would get around their silly "Get It Now" storefront. Same for Java - no free apps; everything must go thru their store.

I don't blame the manufacturers one bit for punishing these clowns for crippling their phones - in fact, I'd love for the manufacturers to forbid resellers from ruining the manufacturers reputation by flashing sketchy custom firmware and still calling it a 'Company X, Brand Y' phone.

Re:Ok, I get it now... (2, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575567)

Tiller's Rule: Never use a word in written form that you've only heard and never read. You will end up looking foolish.

That applies the other way around, too. I heard a fellow just yesterday mention the heavy metal band "Queen-Sryche"

Re:Ok, I get it now... (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21577083)

That's funny - I remember a friend spelling it "Queen Scryche' or somesuch. It came out as "Queen Skertch".


One of my favorite Tiller's Rule violations is a car that had 'Monocot' construction (I think they meant 'monocoque'). I didn't think cars were available with monocot or dicot construction.

Re:Ok, I get it now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21576527)

Tiller's Rule: Never use a word in written form that you've only heard and never read. You will end up looking foolish.

Kind of like "thru" instead of "through", huh?

Re:Ok, I get it now... (4, Insightful)

kharchenko (303729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575573)

Bull .. they load their own software on the phones, screw up the menus, put up locks, restrictions, etc. They better answer support calls. Of course I would switch to an open platform phone and dump their "support" in a second if there was a choice.

Re:Ok, I get it now... (2, Informative)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575603)

If something like a calendar application on your phone is buggy, why should Verizon be trying to deal with it.
Thats a good one. Have you ever used a Verizon phone? At least on my KRZR there is no Calendar application, unless you buy it from Verizon. Verizon installs their own firmware so that about all that still works is syncing contacts.

And worst of all, its ugly. Who the hell makes an OS with a bright-red themed GUI?

Re:Ok, I get it now... (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576081)

Funny, on my Verizon KRZR, if I press down on the d-pad I get to the calendar. Granted, it's not useful for anything more than glancing at dates, but it's there. I didn't get the KRZR thinking it would be a smartphone, either, though.

Re:Ok, I get it now... (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576249)

Did you even read what I wrote, or did you stop one after that one comment. I said that I know VZ pushes their UI onto the manufacturer. They've currently had to support buggy software, and they have now realized that they don't want to. So, they remove their UI restrictions, making the manufacturer responsible, and everybody's happy.

Re:Ok, I get it now... (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576831)

They won't do that. They make too much money selling their crappy apps, music, videos & ringtones via their crappy UI. If they let leave the phones on their "factory" UI, they lose a HUGE revenue stream.

Re:Ok, I get it now... (1)

RESPAWN (153636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576343)

My whole family has Verizon and I know that three of our phones have a calendar application: LG ENv, LG Chocolate, and LG 8350. I'm almost certain that Dad's Razr has one too, but don't hold me to that -- I haven't touched his phone in months. On the LG phones, simply pressing "down" on the directional pad from the standby screen accesses the calendar. I've played with a few others at the store as well that had calendars, but I will admit that they've all been LG phones, so maybe it's just the Motorola phones that are gimped like that? I mean, here's a CNET review that specificially mentions that the phone includes a calendar: http://reviews.cnet.com/cell-phones/motorola-krzr-k1m-verizon/4505-6454_7-31987124.html [cnet.com]

Have you actually checked for it under the Settings and Tools > Tools menu? That's where it should be located if you don't have a shortcut key for it.

I'm not trying to say that you're intentionally spreading FUD, but I certainly haven't noticed the lack of a calendar on any of my family's phones.

(The red themed GUI is crap, but they've thankfully been moving away from that on some of the newer phones -- my eNV has an option for a blue GUI and it looks sooo much better.)

Re:Ok, I get it now... (1)

Single GNU Theory (8597) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576813)

Amen, brother!

I surf from my phone occasionally, and a couple months ago Verizon started putting fscking BANNER ADS on their mobile web portal. And if I choose to go to my stored URLs, there's so much crap on the page, the stuff I want to see doesn't even show up on the first screenful. And the browser's crap: I have not yet found a way to enter a phrase containing a space character in a password field, it's hard to use the drop-downs that have terms you've previously entered into text boxes (I've only managed it once, and that was by accident), and you can only add bookmarks to your favorite URLs by inputting them manually since there's no way to copy the current URL to a clipboard. I could live with the last one as merely a limitation of the platform if they hadn't cocked-up the first two so badly.

Re:Ok, I get it now... (2, Insightful)

hkgroove (791170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574591)

While I understand that Verizon wants to drop overhead, in some way it does make sense. They were the ones crippling their phones at the start and their version of firmware / software changes that is usually the cause of bad phones. Now, if they're not updating the phone at all, why not send support for tech issues to the manufacturer?

I've known many people, including myself, that have had to hard-reset their phones over the last year or two, losing ring tones, games, pictures and contacts. Aside from ring tones and games, the others don't cost money but probably hold great (if not greater value) to the user.

Re:Ok, I get it now... (1)

Drgnkght (449916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575969)

One word: Bitpim.

Seriously, it is a great program (assuming that it supports your phone model.) It allows, among other things, raw access to the phone's filesystem. You can backup anything on the phone.

Re:Ok, I get it now... (1)

RESPAWN (153636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576427)

OT, but have you tried their phone book backup software that stores your phonebook on their servers? Granted, if you want to be paranoid you wouldn't use it, but I find it to be extremely convenient. I'm pretty sure its free with certain levels of phone and/or data plans.

Also, you know your account keeps track of the MP3's/Ringtones/Games you download from VZW. I can't say for certain, but I would imagine that if you bought something like that from them, they would provide for a way for you to redownload the content. I know Sprint provides for this.

(Posting without Karma due to OT nature of comment...)

Re:Ok, I get it now... (1)

RESPAWN (153636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576459)

Yeah, yeah... replying to my own reply.

I just wanted to chime in that I do agree that their firmware can be kind of crap sometimes. My eNV has been known to reboot itself from time to time with the occasional hard lockup forcing me to remove the battery. I haven't lost any data yet, but I now try to keep everything on my memory card.

Re:Ok, I get it now... (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575033)

Post to undue improper moderation. Ignore this.

Re:Ok, I get it now... (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575105)

The company strategy is still about helping the consumer as little as possible and screwing them over as much as possible; it just happens that that is now most easily done with an open network
Well, I'm a cynic, but isn't that how it's supposed to work? They act to maximize their profits, you act to maximize the value you get for your hard-earned $$.

You can always go to another provider... competition should cause the value you get to increase.

The problem isn't Verizon... the problem is the oligarchy of cell phone providers. With too few participants on their side of the market, they do not face enough competitive pressure to make your cell phone experience better. The answer is to either regulate them better, or to open up the market to more competitors (which probably wouldn't work, due to high barriers to entry).

Re:Ok, I get it now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21576919)

I like it when you call them up because something isn't working, they tell you they are "taking care of it". 4 weeks later shit still isn't working, you tell them you want your money back for the month and the customer rep accuses you of trying to steal service from them and "yea we get people like you all the time, wanting something for nothing.". You ask for a supervisor and he tells you he took off for the day.

I don't use any Verizon products any more, directly any way. My DSL is provisioned by Covad and I use earthlink as my ISP. It worked the day the box got there. Verizon took a year and never got my DSL working. After they gave up and told me my phone line won't support DSL, it took 3 years of BBB letters, an attorney, and endless phone calls to get refunded for a service I was never able to send one packet across.

WTG Verizon!!!

Then there's the people like my mom where they actually got DSL working. She bought 1.5Mbps and is paying for 1.5Mbps, but DSL reports says her speed is a C-hair under 768Kbps. Funny, that's exactly what they guarantee in the contract. Hmmm... Same deal with my neighbor. They told him he can't get 1.5Mbps because he's too far from the CO and if he cuts his service to 768kbps, they'll need to throttle him to half of that.

Funny because my Earthlink/Covad connection is going through the same CO and DSL Reports tells me I'm getting 1.28Mbps.

Verizon sucks ass and wants to steal your money. Verizon is ripping you off. Don't deal with them; you don't have to. Verizon are scumbags.

-AC

VoIP? (1)

proc_tarry (704097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574579)

Are voice calls over LTE handled similar to VoIP? If so, does this mean calls will have the same pricing as data (because they are the same). Does this entirely change the mobile phone business model?

Re:VoIP? (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574993)

On the contrary; using IMS different "services" will be priced differently even though they are all carried over IP.

Re:VoIP? (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576045)

It's VoIP, but that doesn't mean the carrier can't charge for them separately. MultiMedia Messaging (MMS) is also done over IP using current platforms, and people aren't generally charged data charges for using it (the operator usually pricing MMS messages at a fixed rate.)

That said, it would surprise me if operators don't generally move to a flatter business model. That's what's going on in the US already (most of the "minutes packages" are considerably higher than anyone generally needs taking into account unlimited off-peak and M2M) and I'm beginning to see evidence of the same in Europe. If the operators can get $100 per household, or $50 per phone, and they don't have to care about interconnect charges or any other stuff that would make the bill less predictable, I suspect they'd prefer to go down that route.

Apple's estranged twin (1)

untorqued (957628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21577259)

Verizon gets a lot of flak here and elsewhere for locking up phone capabilities. And as a current Verizon customer, I'd certainly love to be able to transfer files between my phone and computer with Bluetooth. At the same time, I still generally recommend Verizon to friends looking at switching or getting new service because here in San Francisco, as most places I've travelled in the U.S., my phone service just works.

Verizon Wireless reminds me of another company whose products I've grown to appreciate: Apple. Both companies seem to share a business model rooted in some common principles, producing a similar result: it just works.

Both companies control the hardware (Apple by making it, Verizon by installing their own interface), so they can solve users' problems when they crop up (under warranty, anyway...). And both companies charge a premium up front for their products, with users receiving solutions in exchange while using it. If you want to save some money, you get a PC and spend time and/or money getting things set up, configured, updated, upgraded as time goes on, or you use AT&T wireless and take your chances with network connectivity and customer service. But Verizon and Apple base their business models on making it work, and charging a premium for that.

No doubt folks will post here with horror stories with Apple tech support or Verizon customer service. My point is that in comparison, a given group of customers (non-techies with Apple, busy people with Verizon) are more satisfied with these companies overall than with other companies. Check out Consumer Reports' most recent survey of cell phone companies - they all rated abysmal in service, but they found Verizon the least so [sfgate.com] ...

Verizon Embraces Google's Android (5, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574157)

Verizon Embraces Google's Android

Too bad androids are only able to return the gesture of affection with a cold, dead indifference.

A Java-ish success? (4, Interesting)

caywen (942955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574163)

I wonder if Verizon's support for Android devices is indirectly due to Java's general acceptance as a mobile platform (J2ME), and their confidence that a whole OS based on it will be solid enough to provide predictable support for it. We're beginning to see Windows Mobile devices diverging in basic functionality as the T-Mobile Shadow, HTC Touch, and AT&T Tilt all have different interfaces. This likely makes it hell for Verizon to provide open access for WM. If Android can remain consistent in functionality, robustness, and usability, as well as maintain a relatively small footprint, I don't see why Sprint and T-Mobile wouldn't follow suit eventually. OTOH, AT&T may continue to drink Apple's koolaid and be the closed, leading edge, stylish carrier.

Re:A Java-ish success? (2, Funny)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574527)

Um, Sprint and T-Mobile were two of the founding members of the OHA/Android.

Re:A Java-ish success? (4, Informative)

Metaphorically (841874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575227)

I wonder if Verizon's support for Android devices is indirectly due to Java's general acceptance as a mobile platform (J2ME)
Android uses Java Standard Edition, not Micro. And I don't see much foundation for that speculation: Android is built on Java not the other way around.

their confidence that a whole OS based on it will be solid enough to provide predictable support for it.
There's no OS built on Java here. The emulator runs a custom JVM on top of Linux.

I don't see why Sprint and T-Mobile wouldn't follow suit eventually.
Sprint and T-Mobile are already members [openhandsetalliance.com] (as I think other comments have pointed out).

Re:A Java-ish success? (1)

caywen (942955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576033)

Right - sorry didn't meant to say that the OS itself is built on Java. But given that the user experiences are done in Java, that probably makes carriers more comfortable. The alternative is dangerous, crashy native code running on bloated OS's, which will cost them one way or another...

They'll need a new tagline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574169)

Verizon plans only to ensure the wireless connection is working for customers who buy those devices.

"Can you hear me now? No? Tough-- it must be your device!"

Relevent and Hip (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574209)

They know they need to do something "edgie" to court the "Hip" crowd and they see Google as the way to do it. Doing something like this seems like a marketing ploy to keep them "cool". Who need to say they have good service when we have "the cool" phones.

Re:Relevent and Hip (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574521)

I have had nothing but excellent service from Verizon. Including them coming out at checking my inside wiring for no charge.
The one big deal is when putting in their fiber infrastructure they damaged bu sprinklers. It took 1 5 minute phone call at 4PM and they were out the next day and fixed it.
They cut my DSL monthly fee in half, mid contract.

Quite frankly, I don't understand the Verizon hate. Yes they area large company, but overall they seem to play well.

Now that they see that the telecom industry is on the wrong path, changes direction in positive ways and they still get heat.
Of COURSE they change paths from "sure to be outdated method" to "a method with a future" for business. There are many telecoms that still prefer the 'lock down the customer' methodology

Re:Relevent and Hip (2, Informative)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574619)

VZW and Verizon Communication (land lines) are part of the same company but are kind of separate entities from each other. Having one does not make you a customer of the other.

I don't doubt their land line service is great. I've gotten excellent service with the cell phone section of the company too. But the moves just seem more marketing driven than market driven.

Re:Relevent and Hip (2, Informative)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574909)

Verizon != Verizon Wireless. They are two seperate companies.

Re:Relevent and Hip (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575811)

Quite frankly, I don't understand the Verizon hate. Yes they area large company, but overall they seem to play well.

Because, quite frankly, when I had DSL through Verizon I was supposed to be getting 768/128 and was instead getting 350/70 during off-peak times and 250/50 during on-peak (and it was a college town so the off-peak times were limited). Latency was high with round-trip averages in the 200ms range and spikes to 350+ (my 53k dialup through icontech.com at home in PA was steady at 175ms to 180ms). We were paying double what similar DSL offerings in other areas were because that was the only game in town.

Calls to their support lines would end up in discussions about powercycling the modem and computer instead of a decision to roll a truck after months of the same reoccurring issues. At one point, when a truck was finally rolled, it took two weeks to hook back up what the tech had disconnected and claimed he couldn't repair that day.

I'm glad that you have had an above average experience with Verizon DSL. The rest of us thought it fucking sucked and thanked our lucky fucking stars when TimeWarner Roadrunner showed up with 3000/256 that went down one time (scheduled) in the 1.5 years we had it. It was half the price, 10x the speed, and the latency was in the 70 to 90ms range. I don't know what happened with Verizon after that but I have a feeling that it lost much of the business it had accumulated in the years prior.

A bit nippy.. (0, Offtopic)

demopolis (872666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574233)

Hitler is freezing his balls off right now.

You know what's a better way to get me to sign up? (2, Interesting)

joe_cot (1011355) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574401)

Stop charging my first born for service.
Verizon's Data-Plan is 80 per month base (with no option for not buying voice time), versus T Mobile's 40 a month (with no Voice plan). That doesn't include the use of wifi spots, which comes standard for t-mobile but is extra on Verizon. I'm an open-source guy, but I'll take a locked proprietary phone that works as a bluetooth modem for my (soon to own, hopefully) Nokia n810 over a google android phone on an open network any day of the week, when it's going to cost me 40 less a month.

not yet an iphone killer... (1)

andreyvul (1176115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574427)

no music support and no touchscreen

Re:not yet an iphone killer... (3, Informative)

Metaphorically (841874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575757)

Not sure where you got that idea from. Android Media APIs [google.com] and MotionEvent [google.com] for handling "movement (mouse, pen, finger) events."

Ingenious corporate spin (4, Insightful)

irishdaze (839248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574433)

Afte reading the article, this is what grabs my eye:

. . . Verizon Wireless won't offer the same level of customer service as it does for the roughly 50 phone models featured in its handset lineup . . . Verizon plans only to ensure the wireless connection is working for customers who buy those devices. "They have to talk to their handset provider or their application provider if they have particular issues," McAdam says.

So, who's to say if "the wirelss connection is working" - The customer? Verizon? The device itself? Application support? What kind of sense does THAT make? I can't hold a call for 5 blocks in a downtown urban area, but because my 'phone provider says the coverage maps report solid coverage, the problem of course must be my handset -- which of course they can replace with a "newer, better model" for just $199.95.

Add to that their sudden outbreak of common sense regarding their business model, in that

. . . the bulk of their energy goes to helping current subscribers with questions and problems. McAdam & Co. decided the business model was not sustainable."

What a great opportunity for Verizon to reduce their already phenomenally bad customer service and imply that it's not their fault that they must do.

That might be the most ingenious corporate spin I've ever heard. Seriously.

Re:Ingenious corporate spin (1)

vimh42 (981236) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575111)

Well keep your eyes open and watch for wool blankets. However, without being cynical for a moment what if "Verizon Wireless won't offer the same level of customer service..." simply means they won't have support for their nickle and dime you music and movie services and the like?

Re:Ingenious corporate spin (1)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575155)

That might be the most egregious corporate spin I've ever heard.


There, fixed that for you.

Re:Ingenious corporate spin (1)

irishdaze (839248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21577023)

Thank you. :-)

Here I was, wondering if I was being a bit too cynical. Even if I am, though, you have shown there is at least one person even a bit more jaded than I am with BigWireless.

That, my dear, is an accomplishment! Wear it proudly!

[sigh]

Re:Ingenious corporate spin (1)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 6 years ago | (#21577187)

No, no. Thank you. I'm jaded every month I look at my bill.

Re:Ingenious corporate spin (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575195)

Good point. My guess would mean they won't let you bring the phone in and demand an exchange or any sort of hardware support. You're still paying them for SERVICE each month and they damn well better support THAT. Echoes what I brought up when this was first announced: What area of support are they going to skimp on?

Re:Ingenious corporate spin (1)

arclyte (961404) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575243)

My thoughts exactly. How can we downsize our customer service department and make it look like a win for the customer? This might work for the hacker type who can build his own phone from scratch and doesn't need any input from Verizon, only service, but the average user is going to throw a fit when they find out their "supported" phone comes with no support.

Re:Ingenious corporate spin (3, Interesting)

enjahova (812395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21577015)

So, who's to say if "the wirelss connection is working" - The customer? Verizon? The device itself? Application support? What kind of sense does THAT make? I can't hold a call for 5 blocks in a downtown urban area, but because my 'phone provider says the coverage maps report solid coverage, the problem of course must be my handset -- which of course they can replace with a "newer, better model" for just $199.95.
Let's look at this model applied to computers and internet access (which is pretty much what a phone is, a small computer connecting to a network)

So, who's to say if "the internet connection is working" - the customer? Comcast? the computer itself? Windows/Linux support? Makes sense to me, we deal with this all the time! Would you rather that ISP's sold rigorously tested locked down PCs that they could give customer support on? Or would you rather that connection and your computer remained separate, so you contact them when your internet SERVICE doesn't work, and contact the computer/application developers for support when the device doesn't work.

I think the problem is that people are so used to being fucked by phone companies, its hard to see how things should be. Ideally, service should be completely separate from the device. Yes, you would now have to trust two different entities, the service company for connectivity and the device maker for a robust device, but we seem to do this just fine with TV and computers.

It looks like they are trying to move away from the locked down phones for greedy reasons, but if it works out that way its better for us. If they are actually doing this, I see it as a good thing for competition and the abysmal situation in the US for cell service. Whether or not they actually go through with it only time will tell :)

Better off (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574451)

I think they're better off than taking the iPhone route. The issue with iPhones is that you've only really got a subset of customers (albeit a very large one), and it's unlikely to grow beyond that. With an open platform, I think Verizon are covering a much larger customer-base. That and the added fact that anything with Google on it is likely to sell well.

Complments and substitutes.... (0, Offtopic)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574559)

Verizon just blew up the US cell phone industry.

Go read Joel Spolsky's newsletter (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/StrategyLetterV.html) for a fuller understanding.

Happy times are ahead!

Re:Complments and substitutes.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21576217)

At least two national operators have been running open networks almost forever, T-Mobile and AT&T. What on Earth are you talking about?

Based on your advice... (1)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576367)

I just ran my MetroPCS phone (Nokia 6255) over to T-Mobile. Despite your insightful post, they laughed at me.

What now?

Re:Complments and substitutes.... (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576935)

Mods, Parent is NOT off topic, he's dead on.

In the cited article Joel sums up something that applies here: "Smart companies try to commoditize their products' complements". This is what android is doing, and hence will allow Verizon to do. If their product's compliments (software) becomes a commodity then it will drive demand for their products up. Verizon doesn't sell phones, they sell access to their huge network.

In the same way IBM develops open source software because it helps sell big iron, Google and company plan to use Android (OSS) to increase demand for their products. This is spot on.

Thanks. (1)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21577343)

You're pretty smart. Thanks.

As a Verizon Customer... (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574587)

One of my biggest bitches was being forced to run their proprietary crap apps on the phone instead of plentiful Java apps. I also hate all the fcking branding: External LCD shows Verizon Logo when shut, internal screen has "Verizon" at the top, etc. $200/month isn't enough to let me put what I want on the phone and make it look like a want? My son downloaded a stupid game the first dat he had it because he thought it was free and we found out last month that we have been charged for it for a year. Screw that! If Sprint didn't suck more I'd still be with them.

Re:As a Verizon Customer... (2, Informative)

goofballs (585077) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575005)

My son downloaded a stupid game the first dat he had it because he thought it was free and we found out last month that we have been charged for it for a year. Screw that!
sorry dude, but your son bamboozled you, and you fell for it. the 'get it now' apps are VERY clear that they cost money- in fact, that's the FIRST thing you see when you select one of them. :P

Looking forward to Android phones... (1)

Vthornheart (745224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574589)

I've been working with the SDK since it came out, and though it is still lacking in some of its promised features, by the time the first phones come out next year it's going to provide some very interesting competition in the industry.
I'm glad that a major provider is jumping on. From a development perspective at least, Android is a breath of fresh air in the mobile phone industry. Hopefully it will be for end users as well, but I suppose that remains to be seen. =)

Verizion opening it's network (1)

scourfish (573542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574655)

April Fools in december? Oh shi-

Customer Service (1)

McDiesel (447709) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574901)

And this is a change in their customer service how? Like with the phones that they currently support they can explain to me why I can't reply to an SMS outside my area code?

CDMA and GSM protocol support (2, Insightful)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575113)

They say they are going to switch from CDMA to GSM, but why do they have to alienate all their existing customers by switching protocols? The network should support both CDMA and GSM simultaneously. That should be their goal, to support as many different devices as possible, instead of just particular phones.

Re:CDMA and GSM protocol support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575701)

I'm not following where they say that. The Slashdot summary says it, but the article for that part does not contain the word GSM anywhere, but simply talks about continuing their CDMA network.

Despite what summary implies... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576237)

I doubt it's well characterized as a move so much as an expansion of the CDMA equipment. Currently, they have a CDMA network to the point of having embraced EV-DO as the 3G standard they went with. Looks like UMB (the 4G equivalent of LTE) has absolutely zero takers, and that Verizon plans to deploy LTE equipment to complement their current networks. Just like while I'm in a large city, I generally can get EVDO access, but if I go 100 miles away, I only get 1x RTT connection from the tower. Meanwhile, though I haven't used it in a while, the good ol' AMPS network is still active where I am at and is guaranteed for at least two more months (despite that digital networks have been essentially ubiquitous for nearly a decode now). I would expect their CDMA network to be live for probably a decade after the first LTE technologies become available to consumers, by which point getting an LTE phone would be chump change.

Re:CDMA and GSM protocol support (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576285)

They'll probably be using both systems in parallel. LTE is relatively flexible in spectrum usage, and Verizon is bidding on the upcoming 700MHz auctions any way.

It's unlikely they'll be getting rid of the CDMA2000 network completely any time soon, though if they have any sense, once they've started a serious roll out of the LTE stuff, they should drop sales of CDMA2000 devices to avoid getting in the same situation as, say, AT&T and Cingular who were both selling D-AMPS phones until a year or so before they dropped their D-AMPS networks.

This is great! (1)

lutz7755 (1046792) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575119)


> Verizon Wireless won't offer the same level of customer
> service as it does for the roughly 50 phone models featured
> in its handset lineup.

I can't wait to get a different level of customer service from Verizon!

Re:This is great! (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21577345)

Actually, more recently Verizon has been getting very good marks on customer service. Nationally, it's ranked second only to T-Mobile. In my region it's actually tied for first.

Now, I've only been with them a few months but I haven't had any issues yet. Maybe you had a bad experience?

somebody had to (4, Funny)

Atilla (64444) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575373)

I, for one, fully support our android overlords.

wardialers,wifi/bluetooth crackers,etc. (1)

microtubules (1197247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575499)

I can think of lots of good stuff to make too.Like firewalls and encryption to stop wifi/bluetooth crackers. Enough innuendo. How secure is it?

less service? (1)

TheClam (209230) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575511)

'In an open-access model, though, Verizon Wireless won't offer the same level of customer service as it does for the roughly 50 phone models featured in its handset lineup.'

Surely less of a bad thing is a good thing.

level up (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575875)

Verizon Wireless won't offer the same level of customer service as it does for the roughly 50 phone models featured in its handset lineup
Thank God!

Embrace!? (2, Insightful)

enomar (601942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575897)

I'll believe it when I see it. All they've done so far is make a couple vague statements to BusinessWeek.

All this talk of Verizon "openness" is just talk. Right in time for all the publicity around the 700MHz auction.

I have no idea what their strategy is, but I can assure you being more open is not their goal.

Android:Cellphones :: Firefox:Browsers (2, Insightful)

jimforcy (1198299) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576071)

Opening their network and letting an open source community develop software for them is a positive step for Verizon. Currently they have some of the worst client side software available on their phones. Why not let users develop the software they like and go back to being just a service provider? They won't have to reduce their prices because current Verizon customers (myself included), have already accepted that we will pay an arm and a leg for cell data service. Android won't make Verizon phone plans cheaper, and might even make them more expensive at the start (due to the higher quality hardware needed to run Android). That being said, at least I'll have a real choice on what software I want on my phone, which is more than can be said for the iPhone and the morons over at AT&T, or Cincular, or wait, AT&T.

US Becomes GSM? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576519)

Does Verizon's plans to deploy a full LTE network mean that CDMA will be gone in a few years from the US? Sprint says it's going to upgrade from CDMA to WiMAX, but has also indicated it might go LTE anyway. Verizon will probably eventually upgrade its CDMA to LTE instead of a CDMA successor, especially if the LTE network succeeds well, even if it's because of the new open devices rather than any intrinsic network advantage. Current GSM operators like T-Mobile will have to upgrade by then, and probably to LTE too. AT&T looks like it's going LTE instead of WiMAX.

Regardless of the technical advantages of LTE, WiMAX or an alternative, just getting a single network tech for all mobile telcos would be a huge benefit. The same phone to connect to any of multiple overlapping networks means redundancy and competition that improve quality and prices, while unifying the market for apps at either end of the network. Which could also be a worldwide state of affairs, as foreign GSM upgrades most likely to GSM.

Is the US really going to finally get into a completely GSM environment along with the rest of the world? And what about Japan, the mobile phone wonderland, which would be the only CDMA left (apart from the US abortion in making Iraq CDMA)?

Re:US Becomes GSM? (1)

chrisgeleven (514645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576945)

Just a guess, but my hunch is that the other CDMA providers will switch to LTE as well. If they don't, they risk losing access to any 4G roaming coverage that Verizon makes available. And now, they get the added benefit of AT&T, T-Mobile, etc. coverage as well.

Not to mention, the other CDMA carriers will lose the significant roaming payments Verizon pays to them (especially in the areas of the country where only rural cell phone carriers have coverage) and will miss out on any new roaming payments that the other big LTE carriers (AT&T, T-mobile, etc.) could send them. Talk about a nice incentive to upgrade!

This is as close of a shot to a full nationwide cell phone network that we will ever have. In theory, assuming you have a cell phone with roaming coverage in your plan, as long as some carrier (whether it is one of the big carriers or just a rural carrier) has a tower up near your location, you will get coverage. That is huge.

Re:US Becomes GSM? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21577149)

I think your expectations are probably accurate. But the problem for it is that open devices could "cheat" these carriers of "roaming", if a single device can have an account on multiple networks, and do the handoff itself. LTE is an all-IP network tech. There will be ways for a phone to transparently close a connection to a network on which it's losing signal, open a connection to another subscribed network, and continue the call to the remote party on the new network, without an audible hiccup - much as phones currently handoff between cells. That kind of feature will eventually let middlemen brand MVNO that subscribes to multiple networks, in bulk, passing savings to subscribers to their "unified" service.

Of course, I can hardly wait for that to arrive. But it does mean that there will be ways to access the network that deliver less revenue than the current roaming schemes that amount to extortion enforced by the limited and balkanized technology. So the incumbent carriers are probably less enthusiastic about it than I am.

Of course, all this uniformity and integration eventually leads to a mobile network that's as open as the Internet. But since all these telcos are fighting the certainty that the Internet remains as open access, especially when there's any possible threat to any bundled service from any kind of ISP in the chain, I don't think they've changed their minds about that degree of control. Compared to actual openness, rather than bundling, lockin, locked phones, roaming windfalls, switching from CDMA to GSM looks easy to them.

do all GSM phones make that noise? why? (1)

johnpaul191 (240105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576767)

would that mean every cell phone in the US is guaranteed interference? when the FCC tests a phone, what do they test? obviously not if it interferes with surrounding equipment. i've even heard the GSM noise on my TV at home (and i have a CDMA phone), so it either comes from the cable company, or the TV station.
seriously... as somebody that works doing professional audio work i effectively can not have a GSM phone because they emit that noise even through shielded cables. they interfere with industry standard wireless systems. i like having a phone i can leave on when working (often over 12 hours per day), but every GSM phone i come across seems to cause interference problems. i don't just mean with wireless mics, but even if they are in a bag laying on, or next to, mic cables, they will bleed through. that is the #1 reason i can't buy an iPhone or anything else from AT&T/T-Mobile. /rant

firsT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21576859)

to decline for that comprise Troub7es of Walnut
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>