Feature Article

January 12, 2011

Verizon iPhone Could Spell Trouble for Android-Based Handset Manufacturers

Phew! The speculation is finally over.

After months of reporting on rumors, hearsay, conjecture and even gossip, we can finally tell you that Verizon will begin carrying the iPhone in February. 

While the carrier's Tuesday press conference cleared up one long-unanswered question, it also provides us with a host of others. One of which being: How will the arrangement affect the Android operating system, which currently runs Verizon's most popular phones and has been gaining ground on Apple's iOS as the world's leading platform?

Long story short; the news is not good for Google, its thriving OS and the phones that run on it.

Dan Hays, partner at consulting firm PRTM Gartner Inc., told Bloomberg News yesterday that the partnership between Apple and Verizon could cause Android shipments to decrease by as many as 2 million units per year.

"A lot of people who bought Android phones were buying it in lieu of an iPhone because they couldn’t get one on the Verizon network” added Charlie Wolf, an analyst with Needham & Co. in New York.

Meanwhile, Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis, told the news source that he expects Apple to ship approximately nine million Verizon iPhones this year. Obviously, a high number of those consumers will have to be long-time Verizon customers who will be ditching their Android-based handset for an iPhone.

Meanwhile, Verizon is adding to these problems by making it easier for current customers to get rid of their newly-purchased Android-based phones, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Toward the bottom half of Verizon's iPhone FAQs page, the carrier answers the question: “Can I exchange a device that I recently purchased for iPhone?"

"Yes, we will gladly accept returns or make exchanges on all wireless devices and accessories purchased from Verizon Wireless within 30 days of purchase," reads the answer. "All merchandise must be in like-new condition and accompanied by the original receipt."

Although this doesn't differentiate from Verizon's normal policy, it does mean that manufacturers of Android-based smartphones could soon experience an influx of returns, not to mention lower sales projections moving forward.

Want to learn more about 4G? Come to the 4GWE Conference. To be held Feb. 2-4 in Miami and collocated with ITEXPO East 2011, the 4GWE Conference -- including the Regulatory 2.0 Workshop -- will focus on the realities of deploying 4G technologies and delivering broadband wireless applications to a growing community of wireless broadband consumers. Don’t wait. Register now.

Beecher Tuttle is a MobilityTechzone contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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