Verizon Wireless to open up network to outside applications

The carrier remains quiet on whether it will use Google’s Android platform to create open-source mobile applications.

U.S. mobile carrier Verizon Wireless late last month announced plans to provide customers with the option to use devices, software and applications not offered by the company on its nationwide wireless network.

The carrier plans to make the option available to customers by the end of 2008. Earlier in the year, it will publish technical standards allowing developers to design products to interface with its network. According to a press statement issued by the company, any device that meets the minimum technical standard will be activated on the network. Devices will be tested and approved in a testing lab being built by the company for the anticipated new demand. Any application the customer chooses will be allowed on these devices.

Despite recent reports to the contrary, Verizon Wireless has not made it official whether these plans will incorporate Google’s Android open-source software for mobile phones. Shortly after the company made its announcement in late November, CEO Lowell McAdam told Business Week that Verizon Wireless would support Android. A company spokesperson, however, was quoted in several publications coming out after the Business Week article saying that while developers would be allowed to use Android to create applications for the Verizon Wireless network, the company has not yet made the decision to use components of the Android platform itself.

Google announced Android in early November, along with the formation of the Open Mobile Handset Alliance, an industry group promoting open sourcing on mobile handsets. Two of the nation’s largest carriers, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile, joined the alliance. Verizon Wireless, along with AT&T, did not join.

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