Google and Verizon eye a pad - or at least a patch

In interviews to the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg*, two Verizon Wireless execs confirmed the carrier's discussions with Google to launch a tablet running on Android OS.

The absence of such discussions would have been surprising.

Verizon and Google will probably accelerate TTM for one manufacturer, very much the way they did with Motorola for Android handsets, and together they have enough power and motivation to close the gap.

Close the gap ? For Verizon Wireless, tablet TTM is definitely less important than LTE TTM, and recent LTE trials in Boston seem to confirm this sense of emergency. VZW can not only remove its CDMA-GSM handicap vs AT&T, but also enjoy a temporary competitive edge when its Texan rivals struggle with capacity issues (partly courtesy Apple). Likewise, tablets and other devices will be less critical than the ecosystems behind : AT&T may or may not keep its exclusivity with Apple for the iPhone until 2012, it still managed to open up to both the Kindle and the iPad. V wants more control on the value chain than pipe filling, and on a more sustainable basis ? Time to prove it.

Close the gap ? I never considered the key race to be between Apple and Google. Mountain View is more aiming at Redmond's throat than at Cupertino's. Yes, Apple the manufacturer is succeeding where Nokia the manufacturer failed, in trade diversification**, but Apple will never enjoy Nokia's record market shares. Yes, Apple played the role of an accelerator for existing usages and business models (ie didn't invent smartphones nor app stores), but Google can go much further and not just because, as expected, it's pushing Android ahead on handsets : Google can literally become a category killer for the wealthiest players around in the telecom and software industries. Operators know it, Microsoft knows it. A success of Google's instant cloud scratchers on bigger screens represent a much bigger disruption than the iPad itself (not really a game changer in the global ecosystem).

mot-bile 2010

* "
Verizon, Google Developing iPad Rival" (WSJ) / "Google, Verizon in Talks About a Rival to Apple's iPad" (Bloomberg)
** OK, Nokia has gone a long way from timber

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