January 11, 2011 Leave a comment
It finally happened, starting February 11th Verizon will start selling the iPhone on their CDMA network. I’ll get to more of the specs later, but for now I want to talk about what this means for the rest of cellular world, mainly for Google’s Android.
Over the past couple of months, when the rumor mills really started turning, lots of polls started popping up about how people felt about a Verizon iPhone. The resounding conclusion was that most smart phone users would switch to the iPhone if it was offered on Verizon. Now I know, the Android OS (and all of its iterations) recently took the top spot of the most widely used mobile OS, and rightly so, the market has been flooded with Google’s pet project. This is why Android has the most to lose from today’s announcement. If most smart phone owners will switch and Android is currently the most used, then a large percentage of those making the change would currently have Android devices.
So how did Google fall into this trap (possibly imagined by Apple all along)? Carriers such as Verizon, Sprint, etc. really had no inner competition, it was just a matter of which device manufacturer to go with rather than which OS. This false win was also perpetuated by the tendency of cellular users choosing to not get an iPhone simply because it was on AT&T, further isolating the market. This created two separate markets. One where the iPhone reigned supreme, and the other where no competition really even existed. But with the Verizon iPhone in play it becomes one market again where Google has everything to lose and Apple everything to gain.
So my prediction is that within two years (long enough for anyone just purchasing a smartphone’s contract to be up) we’ll see a drastic drop in Android powered devices and a huge uptick in iOS market share. But enough about all of that, lets talk about the new (well kind of) hotness.
iPhone, Verizon edition is pretty much a cloned copy from AT&T but with two fairly important differences. The first is something I’ve been talking about for years, CDMA’s issue with data and voice at the same time. Well it just can’t do it, and the Verizon iPhone is no exception. For some (maybe most) people this isn’t a big deal, but for me it’s not helpful. I like the ability to be at Lowe’s talking to someone on the phone while checking the pricing at HomeDepot. Maybe it’s just me, but since the data portion of my iPhone is what I use most, anything limiting when and how I use it is a big deal for me. The other difference is the new Verizon version can be used as a mobile wifi hotspot allowing up to 5 other devices to connect to it. Very cool, considering that it took how long for tethering to come out and then AT&T not even let you use it? Other than those differences there haven’t been any other changes. Also, it doesn’t look like Verizon will be cramming any of its own software (Vcast, Navigation, etc.) onto the iPhone, like they are known to do. This could be because Apple won’t let them, but either way, it’s a good thing.
Pricing you ask? Doesn’t look like we have any plan prices yet, but we do know the 16GB version will be $199 followed by the 32GB at $299, both with 2 year agreement. The mobile hotspot option will most likely cost you a little extra a month as well.
So in the end, I don’t see a jump to Verizon in my near future, but I’m excited to watch the huge flow of customers to America’s largest network to get the world’s best phone. Well that, and watching Apple’s stock price continue to go up.