Will Google's Android operating system suffer from Verizon's recent iPhone acquirement?
AT&T's exclusive-until-now agreement with Apple has meant that tech-hungry Verizon loyalists turned en masse to Android and Blackberry devices to cater to their smartphone needs. Recent figures have shown Android making rapid gains in market share in the past six months, mainly at the expense of Blackberry.
The pricing and specs of Android smartphones are comparable with the iPhone, but the battle between their respective fans often seems to have more to do with subjective factors and personal preference than actual technical superiority. Both phones perform similar functions involving music, wireless internet access, and applications, though proponents of either will gladly nitpick about the specifics.
Many suspect that the addition of the iPhone to Verizon's roster will steer new buyers and upgrade-eligible customers away from the Android. Some believe that the Verizon iPhone may steal away around two million Android phone sales in the coming year.
"A lot of the people who are buying an iPhone would have bought an [Android] if it weren't available," said Charles Golvin of Forrester Research. "The reason they will is because basically, they wanted the iPhone but they weren't willing to give up the Verizon network so they're just going to say, 'Now I can get what I really wanted.'"
But Verizon's new iPhone will not run on its much-vaunted 4G network--that honor will go to Android-powered phones. Still, some believe that the Verizon iPhone may steal away around two million of Android phone sales each year.
Why was the iPhone left off the new network?
"The first generation LTE chipsets force some design compromises. Some of which we would not make," Tim Cook of Apple said at the press conference announcing the phone, possibly referring either to increased battery consumption needs or size constraints.
More pressingly, Cook iterated Verizon's desire to get the iPhone out to eager customers as soon as possible. "Verizon customers have told us they want the iPhone now," he said.
With AT&T smirking at the expected network slowdown Verizon could incur now that the iPhone has hit the 3G waves, the possibility of the 4G iPhone should not be out of the question.
"If Verizon can convince Apple to accelerate its incorporation of LTE, the carrier will be able to deliver a significantly accelerated iPhone experience to more customers than its competitor," Golvin said. "And attract a significant number of the first wave of buyers, including the Apple acolytes."
Verizon customers: vote in our poll about your feelings on Android vs. iPhone below!