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What does the Verizon Iphone mean for Android (op-ed)

With Halloween right around the corner it’s a scary time of year. It seems that there is much debate between Apple Fan Boys and the Android Family/Community about the upcoming release of the Iphone on Verizon. Although at this point it’s still speculation, more substantial media outlets, such as The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have reported that the Iphone is definitely headed to Verizon.

We all know that AT&T signed a five year exclusive agreement with Apple. News Flash: just about every contract can be bought out, call it an astronomical “Early Termination Fee”. But also, nobody knows the ins and outs of the Apple/AT&T deal except for both Apple and AT&T. If they started the deal in development and not with street date, five years could very well be up in 2011. If the contract was for street date, then it would be 2012. Consider this though, with the Iphone and Apple being so secretive at the time, the contract almost had to have started at inception and not release. A gamble for AT&T at the time but definitely possible.

The announcement, about 10 days ago, that the Ipad would be at Verizon stores this week, really picked up the pace for this wild fire rumor. Face it, whether Verizon wants to make a statement or not, it’s coming.

So what does that mean for Android? What does that mean for the Android Family/Community? But more importantly what does that mean for the millions of people out there who aren’t necessarily Android Family/Community members yet and their contracts that will end this year.

Overall it’s my personal feeling that when AT&T looses exclusivity of the Iphone, the mystique of having the “exclusive iphone” will be over. I kind of liken this to Dell, it was cool to have a Dell computer when you had to order it over the phone or from now you can get it Walmart, the mystique, out the window.

Overall I think there is a segment of customers out there who would have gladly dropped everything and picked up an Iphone on Verizon in 2007 when they were released. I’m sure there is an Apple enthusiast category out there, that wanted an iphone to go with their Macs, and ipods, but burnt over the fact that they didn’t have it anywhere but AT&T. What’s left, a new smartphone convert that is used to using their current phone, which is NOT an iphone.

Overall a lot of the success of the Iphone on Verizon is going to be the marketing. Are we really going to say goodbye to all those flashy “Droid” commercials in leiu of one of the quirky yet uber simple Apple ads? We won’t really know how this is going to play out until the marketing starts unveiling itself.

But what does this mean for a new smartphone user, or someone who isn’t already caught up in an OS war? It means more choice on the shelves of Verizon stores across the country. It means a highly popular device is coming to a highly popular carrier. Is this a good thing? Yes it is, competition is always great. Android has made in-roads in the OS battle in the United States especialy, to the point where Steve Jobs has to go on tirades trying to conjur up “jobs facts” as to how IOS beats the Android OS.

Take this point into consideration. On Steve Jobs most recent tirade about Google, Android and competition, he touts numbers about 275,00 IOS activations per day. In this he groups Iphone, Ipod Touch and Ipad. Depending where you look, Google touts numbers ranging between 200,000 and 250,000 activations per day. The first number, 200,000, came out of Eric Schmidt’s lips talking to some tech journalists over the summer. The most recent number, 250,000, came via Forbes magazine, earlier this month. Both of the Google numbers are JUST PHONE/HANDSET, devices. They qualify the Android activations as devices with Google Apps and the Google suite on them, or “Google Experience”. As of this moment (keeping in mind the Samsung Galaxy Tab comes out early next month) there are no “google experience” Android tablets out there. So that immediately means the activations vs activations number is strictly, the Iphone vs Android Phones. Those numbers for Apple are way lower. In actuality Apple sold an average of 157,000 iphones per day vs Android’s at least 200,000 per day worldwide.

So quite frankly, as thedroidguy my educated guess, an Iphone on Verizon may catch the “iphone” up but not by any means kill or hurt Android.

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