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Google gets proactive in the tablet space

by Scott Bicheno on 12 May 2010, 10:10

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Verizon (NYSE:VZ)

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The WSJ had a chat with Lowell McAdam, chief exec of US mobile operator Verizon, recently and he revealed that Verizon is working on a tablet device in partnership with Google.

This isn't of direct significance outside of the US right now, but it does send a clear signal that Google is being proactive in looking at ways it can encourage direct competition with the iPad.

In the US, Verizon rival AT&T currently has exclusivity on both the iPhone and the iPad. While it probably has to pay Apple handsomely for the privilege, this does give it a competitive advantage in terms of acquiring and keeping customers. To compete Verizon must either suck-up to Apple or come up with an alternative.

While at least three UK operators have been permitted by Apple to offer data tariffs for the iPad, they will all be keen to see viable competitors to it emerge, if only to weaken Apple's negotiating position. So the news that Google is starting to collaborate with operators in developing tablet devices will certainly grab their attention.

"What do we think the next big wave of opportunities are?" said McAdam in his WSJ interview. "We're working on tablets together, for example. We're looking at all the things Google has in its archives that we could put on a tablet to make it a great experience."

Bloomberg also dropped Verizon a line and got confirmation that this would be an Android - as opposed to Chrome OS - device, and that Verizon would release more details later this week.

Verizon has been a conspicuous backer of Android smartphones from companies like Motorola and HTC in the States, while AT&T has nurtured its Apple relationship. This kind of polarisation could be a sign of things to come elsewhere at platform providers like Apple Google and Microsoft become increasingly intimate with individual operators.


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