Verizon and Apple Don't Get Along

Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) is kicking off its Android efforts in big style. The first Verizon phone running the software that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) built will reportedly be a Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) design that's raising eyebrows around the industry.

The Motorola Droid seems to be set for release at the end of October or early November, and Verizon is spending freely to promote the launch with prime-time ad spots in baseball playoff games. The first ad is nothing less than a direct assault on the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone, pointing out the iPhone's perceived and proven shortcomings while illustrating how the Droid can do it better.

Them's fightin' words, but early hands-on reports on the Droid (a.k.a. the Motorola Sholes or Tao) position the new device as a realistic challenger to the iPhone. The Droid seems like it can walk the talk. Motorola, Google, and Verizon reportedly worked hand-in-hand-in-hand to spit-shine this phone, and the product matches the iPhone feature by feature.

The Droid is rumored to use a powerful Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN  ) chip that's just as fast as the iPhone's processor, and is significantly faster than the Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM  ) chip inside older Android models. The slide-out physical keyboard complements Android's standard touchscreen keys, but the Droid still comes in a svelte, sleek design that puts the bulky T-Mobile G1 and others to shame. And the 5-megapixel camera comes with a flash that the iPhones sorely lack. All told, I can't wait to see one of these beasts in person.

Verizon hurls verbal barbs like "iDon't allow open development" and "iDon't take night shots" at the iPhone. That's not something you'd do to a future partner, right? I guess the iPhone isn't coming to Verizon Wireless anytime soon, then (though lesser lights like T-Mobile still might show up in an Apple store near you).

What's abundantly clear is that the Android is coming of age right now. Recently announced models like the Samsung Galaxy, Motorola Cliq, and HTC Hero all look like serious products with distinctive advantages over both older Androids and the iPhone. But none have drawn the pre-release praise that the Droid is getting. "Just about anyone who has come in contact with the phone can't stop talking about it," says industry observer TechCrunch, and "they have good reason." And it will connect to the Verizon network, removing what many feel is the weakest link in Apple's chain: slow and/or unreliable data connections on the AT&T (NYSE: T  ) network.

The battle lines have been drawn. Would you buy a Motorola iPhone-clone if it came with Verizon's network and Google's software? Share your thoughts below. You'll be able to vote with your wallet in just a couple of weeks.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.


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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2009, at 1:33 PM, daveshouston wrote:

    Android phones are a huge threat but not to the iPhone. It's Windows Mobile that will knocked off stride by Android. That's because phone vendors like HTC and Motorola are being killed by the iPhone. They need something that is a more reasonable iPhone knock-off. They can't get that from Microsoft so they're going to Google instead.

    By claiming that this phone is just as good as the iPhone they're providing free advertising for Apple.

    Seems to me there is a changing of the guard in the cell phone industry. Consumers are going to be switching from regular cell phones to smart phones.

    The iPhone is going to be the first choice. The iPhone is a great product. There are 85,000 Apps to choose from in the iTunes App store. No other company can come close. Apps are the key differentiator.

    Android is also going to be an important player in this market. The Palm Pre also has a shot.

    The losers are going to be Microsoft, Nokia, RIMs Blackberry, etc.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2009, at 1:49 PM, gilbertsanchez wrote:

    Great! Can't wait to plug into Google's superior system and modern beyond expectation features. Can you say "rotten Apple?"

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2009, at 1:57 PM, TalkToSifar wrote:

    Come On Friends.... You guys deserve a Venila Moto Cliq or Moto Driod today!!

    I know many has not got a taste of it yet. Not to blame anyone, but just the time... You have just less than a month..

    Talk to you guys in a month time

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2009, at 2:17 PM, marv08 wrote:

    AT&T has been gaining tons of subscribers since the 3GS launched, while Verizon did not. The Storm II is not good enough, so they needed something else... no surprises here. They will not be able to resell the iPhone until LTE has significant availability, which might not be before 2012/2013... so, this all makes sense. If Android should mature until then (their current app store is a train wreck and developers do not make money), Verizon will be in a better position to negotiate with Apple. RIMM, MS and, to a lesser degree, Palm will suffer, SE will vanish, Apple will shine. The only big questionmark (outside the US) is, if Nokia will ever wake up and kiss Symbian good-bye before it makes them obsolete. I was lecturing at a German private university last week – not one single student (and these are the rich kids) using a Nokia phone, they had almost 100% three years ago – iPhones and Android phones all over the place.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2009, at 5:38 PM, Patbenmi wrote:

    Verizon's controls too much on their network. I switched from Verizon in August 09 to AT&T and have no plans on going back after having the BlackBerry Storm and Tour. Their network was much slower than my slowest with AT&T. Verizon wouldn't allow my BlackBerry to surf the net while on a call in supposed 3G coverage areas, I had more dropped calls than I'd ever experienced and their version of "Unlimited" was only 5GB.

    Verizon's also never had such a data-hungry device like an iPhone on their network that they didn't drain the fun from. AT&T may be at capacity but that's because they allow their customers to fully use their devices. Verizon's all about the control so I doubt that anyone will be satisfied with their network. Verizon = Too Controlling.

  • Report this Comment On October 21, 2009, at 7:15 PM, barbarosssa25 wrote:

    verizon has the best service hands down and googles andoid is sick plain and simple with the release of this new phone watch out apple and at&t

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