Verizon Wireless & Google Partner To Develop, Sell Handsets

Calling it a "groundbreaking agreement," Verizon Wireless and Google announced today that they would work together to produce mobile devices based on the search giant's Android platform. Certainly the deal is a breakthrough for Google, considering Verizon serves more than 87 million customers and is the biggest service provider yet to join forces with the company. For Verizon Wireless, the move could be seen as the company's latest attempt to compete against the Apple iPhone and AT&T.

During a conference call, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt and Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said they began talking about a partnership about a year and a half ago. Before sealing the deal, Google wanted Verizon's commitment to open source platforms. To illustrate its commitment to openness, McAdam said Verizon would support Google's Google Voice phone management service.

Under the partnership, Verizon Wireless and Google plan to co-develop several handsets based on the Android platform that will come preloaded with their own applications and applications from third parties. The new Android phones will have 10,000 or more applications available.

Verizon Wireless and Google plan to close the deal in the next few weeks with Verizon Wireless announcing some Android-based handsets at that time. Both companies said they will devote "substantial resources" to the venture. Leading handset manufacturers will supply the devices.