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Verizon Needs Google [Opinion]


Think back to January 5th, 2010. That was the date that the Nexus One was first announced and made available for purchase. I can vividly remember the announcement. I impatiently waited for someone to review the device, but the images I saw already confirmed my suspicions: this was going to be an incredible device. Even though it wasn’t on Verizon yet, I had plans to upgrade to it as soon as possible.

This vision of the Nexus One was a phone sold directly by Google to consumers. There was no store to try the device out. You went to google.com/phone to purchase the phone. If you had T-Mobile you could buy the phone unlocked for $529 or $179 on a new two year contract. Eventually a version of the Nexus One with AT&T bands was released in March. By April it was announced that the Nexus One would never be released on Verizon and that customers should buy the Droid Incredible instead. I was crushed, but I moved on (and eventually did get a Droid Incredible, which now sits on my desk running CM7). 

Now think back to December 16th, 2010 when the Nexus S was released. There were no announcements of additional carriers until March 21st, when Google announced that the Nexus S would be available on Sprint with WiMax. On July 21st it was announced that the Nexus S would be available on AT&T for $99 on contract. With a Sprint version I was especially hopeful that Verizon would finally have a Nexus device, but alas, Verizon never released the Nexus S.

In the time between the Nexus One and the Nexus S Google learned a lot about selling phones. First, they learned that having email support is not enough. The Nexus One was plagued with radio issues early on and customers were upset that their only option was to email Google or post on a message board for help. With the Nexus S, Google worked closely with the carriers to ensure that they would help support the devices. While AT&T and T-Mobile didn’t carry the device in stores, Best Buy had both versions in stores as well as the Sprint version when it was released.

This year the Galaxy Nexus was released a day earlier than the Nexus S. As you know, the phone was released exclusively on Verizon Wireless after much delay. All evidence points to the fact that the Galaxy Nexus was ready to launch by the end of November, but Verizon waited to give the Rezoud and the RAZR more time to sell. To make matters worse, the Galaxy Nexus is the first Nexus device to have a carrier’s software preinstalled. Speaking of software, the Galaxy Nexus doesn’t have Google Wallet installed on it. Sure, it can be side-loaded, but it’s just more evidence that Google is not in control of this device. Unlike every other Nexus, the Galaxy Nexus does not have Google branding on the back; instead Verizon’s logo rests above their 4G LTE logo. If there was any doubt about whether or not this was Google’s phone, that should put the debate to rest.

Google’s original vision of the Nexus program has changed dramatically over the last two years, and I don’t think it has been for the better. Google has slowly gotten in bed with the carriers, which has led to the worst Nexus we’ve seen yet. Sure, it has the latest version of Android (which is fantastic) and it’s on my carrier of choice (finally!), but at what cost?

The original vision entailed releasing a device free from the carriers that people could buy subsidized or unsubsidized with the latest version of Android and the first crack at new updates. Instead of using their power to push carriers like Verizon to do no evil, Google has gotten into bed with Verizon, allowing them to further distort their original Nexus vision. It may be said that it’s impossible to get on a carrier’s network without making concessions, but apparently Apple was able to pull it off. If Apple can do it, Google definitely can. Google has tons of money – why not spend it to ensure the largest carrier in the U.S. has a real Nexus device, not some Verizon branded step-child of a Nexus?

Google needs the carriers for support right now, I get that, but when their acquisition of Motorola is complete they’ll have a staff that is trained to support users with their devices. By then they’ll also have a few billion more dollars in search revenue that they can use to throw at the carriers to ensure that their device isn’t touched. Verizon has way too much control right now. A Nexus should never be controlled by a carrier. A Nexus is supposed to be the best from Google, not the best that Verizon will allow on their network.

Google has challenged the music industry with Google Music. They challenged Microsoft Office with Google Docs and Gmail. They challenged Apple’s iPhone with Android. They challenged netbook manufacturers with Chromebooks. They challenged the movie industry with YouTube. Why isn’t Google challenging the carriers? They have the power to do so, but they’re holding back. They should have the Nexus in 5 colors on every carrier right now, but instead they have a tainted Nexus on the greediest carrier in the world. Something is wrong with this picture. We obviously don’t have all the details, but something needs to change. Google needs to step up to the carriers and take control of their device. If Verizon doesn’t want to play nice, Google can start rejecting any Android device with Google Apps that wants to run on Verizon’s network. Verizon needs Android to be relevant, not the other way around.

  • Prime7

    Baby steps.

  • “Google can start rejecting any Android device with Google Apps that
    wants to run on Verizon’s network. Verizon needs Android to be relevant,
    not the other way around.”

    Perfectly written!!!!

  • “Google can start rejecting any Android device with Google Apps that
    wants to run on Verizon’s network. Verizon needs Android to be relevant,
    not the other way around.”

    Perfectly written…!!!

  • Anonymous

    A few points to make:

    – It seems that the OP has forgot that iPhones have the carrier’s name in the top banner, and always have, a consolation I’m sure Apple was forced to make due to the lack of case branding. Apple has to listen to carriers too, you know. You seem to forget that, in the US, the iPhone was only on AT&T for most of the line’s life. Remember that we couldn’t get an iPhone on Verizon until a year and a half ago, Sprint only very recently, and never officially on T-Mo.- The Nexus originally symbolized more of a business model than anything. Selling phones on their online store was the whole angle of the Nexus One (I’d go so far as to call it an experiment), which turned out to be a failure. Since, by then, the market was full of phones that had skinned Android, the Nexus name eventually came to symbolize a ‘showcase’ for Google’s vision of Android, a role that the Verizon GNex fulfills (and does a damn swell job) and thus deserves to be called a Nexus device. The G1 and OG Droid were de facto Nexus devices due to their ‘showcase’ status, but they were released before the market was absolutely flooded, so there was no need for a Nexus line. – Two apps that are actually relevant, easily-disabled utilities are the absolute bare minimum of bloat. It’d be like if I bought an HP laptop with only an ‘HP Support’ program that I could uninstall, and no other applications that aren’t stock Windows. I’d be damn thankful that it was only that.- Google Wallet isn’t a part of Android. It’s a Google-developed app, yes, but it isn’t a component of Android, per se. Yeah, it’s a downer it isn’t included with the GNex, but is easily sideloaded.
    – The GNex gets updates from Google. And it should (we’ll see, but I have no reason to believe it won’t) get updates first. You’re making it out to seem like it isn’t. Also, Verizon let the bootloader stay unlocked. Kudos to that.

    – Poor old Google isn’t being pushed around here. It, like any other business, is making deals. Google doesn’t need the carriers for support. Google has oodles of support, considering Android is outselling iOS, skinned or not. Why isn’t Google challenging the carriers? Because it doesn’t need to.

    A Nexus isn’t defined by you. It’s defined by Google, whether you like what they’re doing or not. Meanwhile, while you’re complaining about the impending doom of the Nexus line, I’ll be enjoying my ‘tainted’ Verizon GNex, that is supposedly completely controlled by Verizon. I haven’t minded it so far.

    • First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to articulate a clear response to the points I bring up. Also, I want to thank you for doing so in a respectful way with the understanding that this is an opinion piece with the intention of stirring up debate and discussion. 

      – I’m very much aware that the iPhone has only been available on AT&T until this year. If it had been available on Verizon there’s a good chance Android wouldn’t be where it is today. Also, you’re  right that the iPhone displays the carrier in the status bar. It always has and it always will. You might say that it’s branding, but that’s branding at the most minimal level. Android phones have the carrier in the status bar too. The difference is, on the body of the iPhone there is no indication of which carrier it is on. If I placed a Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint iPhone in front of you, you wouldn’t be able to tell which was on which carrier without turning on the screen. Is it a minor issue? Perhaps, but it sends the message that the iPhone is Apple’s phone, not some carrier’s. That’s why I make a big deal about the logo on the back. The Verizon Galaxy Nexus has no outward indication that it is Google’s flagship phone. 

      – Nexus phones have come to symbolize the best in Android, but that wasn’t the original vision in my opinion. The whole point of the article is that Google’s approach has changed in ways that it shouldn’t have. Nexus phones should show the best hardware and software versions of Android, but they should also challenge the carrier models like the Nexus One did. 

      – Having two apps that can be disabled is kind of like bloatware on a Windows laptop, except that can be uninstalled easily. I can only disable the apps on the Galaxy Nexus unless I decide to root and rom. I’m definitely thankful that it’s only two apps, but it should have been zero. The reason I brought up the apps was to show that Google made concessions where they shouldn’t have. It’s not that the apps are horrendous, but rather that those kinds of compromises can become dangerous. 

      – I honestly couldn’t care less about Google Wallet. Like you said, it’s easy to side load. The reason I brought it up is because there’s a good chance it isn’t on the Galaxy Nexus (or the AT&T and T-Mobile Nexus S) because of ISIS. 

      – I never gave any indication that the Galaxy Nexus wouldn’t get updates from Google. It’s a Nexus device, so of course it will get updates from Google. 

      – Google definitely made some deals with Verizon. The point I was trying to make wasn’t that these compromises are the worst possible outcome, but rather that they could lead to more damaging compromises. Google doesn’t need Verizon as much as Verizon needs Google. If Google wasn’t being pushed around in some way, they wouldn’t need to make deals. The iPhone doesn’t come with Verizon apps. Why should the Galaxy Nexus? 

      – I never once stated that the Nexus vision is defined by me or that I was basing my argument on an official statement by Google. It doesn’t exist. I simply latex out the history of Nexus devices and argued that the original plan, while flawed, was a gorgeous vision of how buying and selling a phone should be. At its center was the notion that buying a phone shouldn’t necessarily involve the carrier. Over time, the carriers have become more and more involved. I think it’s great (and important) for them to be involved with customer support, but I don’t think they should be involved beyond that. I want a relationship with Google, not with Verizon. 

      – You’re right that Google wants to make money like the carriers, but they do that with search advertisements, not with Android. 

      – I never stated that the Galaxy Nexus is completely controlled by Verizon. I said that Verizon is involved with the phone on too deep a level. If the iPhone can be on Verizon without their branding on the outside of the device and without Verizon apps preinstalled, the Google should be able to do the same. The Galaxy Nexus is Google’s phone, not Verizon’s. 

      Again, thanks for responding to this with your own well articulated thoughts. It seems too easy for many to just reply by calling me names or saying I’m wrong without actually expressing their thoughts. I truly appreciate your efforts and look forward to your reply. 

  • Binglut9

    I cant beleive kellex would post this crap on his site

  • Armorthane

    What if Google bought T-Mobile and made it’s Nexus phones only available on their network? They’ve got the money to do it and it invest in the network to make it better. They’ll have the support for the hardware when the sale from Motorola Mobile goes through. Think it’s something they’d consider doing?

  • Anonymous

    google needs more control over everything that is android,because the carriers are ruining something that is good now,but could be great. i know that the whole appeal of android is open source and more freedom,but the carriers seem to have more control over googles OS than google does,and thats kind of ridiculous.i know they probably set it up the way they did at first to give carriers an incentive to pick it up,but android has grown so much,i dont think there would be a carrier stupid enough to drop android if google tells them they are taking back some of the control (most specifically,updates)

  • You asked way to many questions for me to try and dialogue with you on, but know that I did read it and appreciate your feedback. If you don’t like the opinion pieces, feel free to skip them. You won’t hurt my feelings. I know my opinions don’t always match with everyone else’s, which is fine. The point of them is to stir up discussion. I stand by what I wrote (which was all written while sober). And just so you know, I’m not writing these articles just to hate on things. I think my focus is mostly on trying to see how Android and Google can improve things. Thanks again for the feedback!

  • Uday Kiran


  • I love my GN, but the next Nexus needs to be a phone that Google can truly control.  Perhaps Motorola, since they’re buying them?  They need to come out with versions for all carriers at the same time.  If a carrier balks, then screw them.

    I will be telling Verizon, when my GN is ready for replacement, that I will move carriers to get the next Google phone, if I have to.

  • Anonymous

    my neighbor’s mother makes $76 every hour on the computer.
    She has been unemployed for 9 months but last month her check was $7822 just
    working on the computer for a few hours. Read more here…  LazyCash1

  • Nick Frongillo

    This was by far the best article on Anroid I’ve ever Read

  • The logo on the back could be there for warranty issues.  The Nexus One had to go through Google and HTC to get a replacement or issues resolved.  So the logo could simply be an effort to help thwart that effort and allow you to go strictly through Verizon. 

  • Sk102704

    Say what you want about Ron but you gotta respect his opinion and at least he’s backing it up in the comments. Not many authors do that. 

  • Alexander Garcia

    The mobile industry is broken in the US! The VZW Nexus is NOT Google’s phone, it’s Verizon’s phone. The real GNex is the unlocked GSM variant that the europeans and Canada get to enjoy. Too much power rests with the US Carriers and waaay too much power rest with ol Big Red alone! The carriers, especially Verizon, have us all jn the balls and they can do pretty much ehatever he hell they want with us (including Google). Sorry, but Google has little to no real power here. This is where I actually give Apple credit. They know how to strong-arm the carriers so that at the end of the day, Apple gets what it wants!

    • “the moblie industry is broken”,,,,, good lord how dramatic   lol

      • Well you got Verizon and Sprint who are currently and primarily CDMA providers. Okay. Then you have regional carriers. All of which are CDMA. All these carriers operate their CDMA networks at the same frequencies (though Cricket has more spectrum)
        Here’s what’s fucked up, you can’t take a phone from Verizon to Sprint and vice versa. They are strictly anto-byod (bring your own device). Then you have Virgin Mobile, a virtual network using and owned by Sprint. Again, you CANNOT bring your own device, you have to choose from their crappy selection.
        Then you have the regional carriers again. They’ll flash ANY CDMA phone that’s capable onto their network. See, not even into the GSM part and its already fucked up.

        Now we have our 2 only GSM carriers. AT&T being the biggest and small little T-Mobile USA. On the GSM side, they’re fully backwards-capable. You can bring any GSM phone to these networks so long as its unlocked. Here’s where it gets fucked up. THEIR 3G NETWORKS OPERATE AT INCOMPATIBLE FREQUENCIES! Isn’t that completely counter-intuitive of the idea of what GSM is for? 

        Here’s where it gets more fucked up. Just about every carrier has decied LTE is their future, right? Mkay. So that means we’ll eventually have a fixed and open mobile industry? Not really. From the looks of it now, they’re all going to operate at incompatible frequencies, so its all gonna be fucked up.
        Why the hell can’t we be more like Europe in that they have mobile STANDARDS that must be followed?!

  • I think Google is going about this the right way.  They are giving so that they may get.  Give Verizon a taste of the Galaxy Nexus and next year or in the future Verizon will see its value and Google will be able to accomplish it’s original goal.

  • Anonymous

    Google needs to take Verizon’s network and create their own MVNO.  Call it Google Voice. LOL.  Unlimited data also.  Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I knew it all along. The “Galaxy Nexus” is not the best name for this device. It’s supposed to be called the “Nexus Compromise”.

    And for what reasons, only Google will know. I do have the deepest belief that this might just be the first and only Nexus on Big Red. Maybe at least for a couple years or so.

  • Hmm

    Google’s main competitor is iOS. One major advantage to new customers is LTE. When AT&T get LTE Google will have more leverage. VZW will then need Google maps much more than it does now.

    Only then the game will change. Until then we’re VZW’s hostage, they have what we want. That’s what it will take for Google to challenge VZW. Our willingness to leave VZW is the critical factor here.

    • sprints also setting up LTE , id prefer them over AT&T

  • Anonymous

    For the love of Satan, not this crap again. This is a non-issue.

    We’ve already confirmed that the Verizon Galaxy Nexus gets its software updates directly from Google. As for the so-called bloatware — it’s two apps that customers actually use. Contrast that wth the Nexus One that shipped with the Amazon MP3, Facebook, and Twitter apps; they couldn’t be uninstalled or moved to the SD card. And that was on a phone with just a few hundred megs of internal storage.

    Google Wallet isn’t officially supported on the T-Mobile Nexus S either. Yet I don’t see anyone claiming that the T-Mo Nexus S isn’t really a Nexus.

    I simply have no idea how the author can claim that the Galaxy Nexus is the “the worst Nexus we’ve seen yet.” I used a Nexus One on AT&T for a year. I now use a Galaxy Nexus on Verizon. The Galaxy is a wonderful upgrade.

    So the only “issue” is the fact that the Verizon Galaxy Nexus doesn’t have the Google logo on the pack. I admit, that’s a little odd, but, honestly, who cares?

    This incessant whining is insufferable. The Verizon Galaxy Nexus is just as much a Nexus phone as every other Nexus phone.

    • This is my first time chiming in on the issue, so I wouldn’t call it incessant whining. 😉 I call it the worst Nexus yet because it strays the furthest from Google’s original vision, not because of hardware or software.

      • Anonymous

        I should have clarified. By “incessant whining” I was referring to the numerous op-eds, tweets, fb/g+ posts making this same point – that the VZ GNex somehow isn’t a real Nexus. It is.

        The original Nexus vision died long ago when Google stopped selling directly. Or perhaps it was when they shipped a carrier-locked Nexus One on Vodafone that didn’t get updates directly from Google.

        • Right. The notion that it’s not a Nexus seems a little difficult to defend, which is why I decided to say its the worst one yet instead. You’re right that the original Nexus vision died sometime ago. I guess this is one way for me to articulate that some of us still want to see that vision come true.

  • >> If Verizon doesn’t want to play nice, Google can start rejecting any
    Android device with Google Apps that wants to run on Verizon’s network.
    Verizon needs Android to be relevant, not the other way around.

    Unfortunately, I cannot agree with you. The thing is, in the US, Google needs Verizon. And, contrary to what many people believe, even Apple needs Verizon, or to a further degree, it needs the US carriers. It’s made painfully clear to Apple that, not going with more than just AT&T hurts them a lot. The Droid on Verizon rose from nowhere to de-throne Apple from being king of the smartphone world. You see, the US mobile computing industry IS controlled by the carrier. Google simply cannot make a great phone and hope that it will sell millions of them — if a carrier decides not to let the phone be used on their network, Google will immediately lose a large portion of the market share. And, unlike Apple, there WILL BE alternative around to pick up the spaces it left behind because there are other companies making Android smartphones. As witnessed by the latest saga of the Galaxy Nexus, Verizon chose not to market the Galaxy Nexus massively, but instead put all its effort into promoting the RAZR — we don’t know the result yet, but I have a feeling that the Galaxy Nexus may not be selling as many as the RAZR.

    Let’s admit it, Google simply sucks in the consumer market. Had it spend money in marketing the Galaxy Nexus itself, it could offset the negative impact of the lackluster Verizon campaign. But Google didn’t do it. IMO, Google simply does not care the Nexus sell well — as Google execs said numerous times, the Nexus line is meant to be used to jump-start new trends of the Android platform for the coming year. It is NOT a consumer device (of course, Google conveniently forgot that they wanted to change the mobile computing world with the Nexus One.)  And, don’t get your hope high on the Google+Motorola merger. Google had said many times it would leave Motorola alone. Even Google’s critics didn’t believe that, but I do because this is the kind of stupid mistakes Google would make in the consumer market. Still don’t believe it, just think about this:

    You are an early OG Droid user — a non-tech savvy ordinary user. You know nothing about rooting, custom ROM, etc. You love your Droid, and have tons of data saved in your beloved smartphone, such as your game saves. You just qualified for an upgrade and did not wait even a second to get a Galaxy Nexus. You happily sign in to your new Nexus. Wait for your app to be re-downloaded. Then you open your favorite games — none of your game data were saved. Google did make a data backup API available to the developers, but no one seems to be using it. At the same times, Google doesn’t feel it’s a problem because if you ask them, they will point out that the mechanism is there and the developers just need to implement it. In the meantime, you have no other ways to restore your data from your Droid (remember, you don’t even know what rooting is.) That’s what will happen to an ordinary user when they upgrade their phone after 2 years. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that most consumers need a way to save their app data, and yet Google does not have a CONSUMER FRIENDLY solution. Is it so hard to do that? All they need to do is to add a feature to the “Backup & Restore” section in the Settings and save all app data to a portion of the SD card, let the user copy the data to a PC, then copy it back to their new phone and press a restore button. Yes, it’s not as elegant as using a cloud to back up the data, but at least it’s a solution.

    Make no mistake, I love Android. I love it so much that I bought 4 Galaxy Nexus to replace the 4 OG Droid in my family. But as I said earlier, Google sucks in the consumer market and it needs to wake up. It may not need to worry about Apple in the smartphone market anymore, but I have a feeling that it’s going to fail miserably in the tablet market — I mean, it’s going to lose the battle against Amazon, not Apple. The tablet market is a different market. People know what to do with a smartphone. But the tablet is a new market and the usage of a tablet is still being defined by the tablet makers. Apple, Amazon and even Barnes & Nobles know how to define their tablets. Google, however, has no focus at all. That’s why even though geeks like us enjoy Android tablets but the ordinary consumers don’t. They simply don’t know what an Android tablet can be used for. It’s not just a problem of how many tablet apps are available, but a perception issue. A perception issue needs good consumer marketing. Too bad, this is what Google does not have in its blood.

  • Rynolda

    i think we have to remember exactly what is google’s goal? they want people to take their software and do whatever. when they launched the phone they wanted to free people from contracts. the contract thing did not work, but plenty have picked up the software. going forward, it is sad seeing verizon make it their device, but obviously google felt it important to have the device on their network. google will not get everything they want, unless they do everything themselves, including towers ect. which i do not see happening. each side has to give and take, and to be quite honest this is a very successful win if people are willing to pay a little extra for it. 

  • andrew z

    “The original vision entailed releasing a device free from the carriers that people could buy subsidized or unsubsidized with the latest version of Android and the first crack at new updates. Instead of using their power to push carriers like Verizon to do no evil, Google has gotten into bed with Verizon, allowing them to further distort their original Nexus vision.”

    What? The Nexus S I remember was exclusively sold at Best Buy. This isn’t a Verizon thing, it’s a Google thing. The Nexus One is the only Nexus to be exclusively sold through Google.

    • Right, I detail that in the article. My argument is that Google shouldn’t have strayed from that original model. Some changes (selling them in stores) are good, but overall I think they’ve abandoned a good idea.

  • Anonymous

    Why do people make an issue about the logos on the phone? I don’t care that it says Verizon on the phone. It is a phone exclusively on Verizon’s network in the US and they’re the ones who subsidized the cost of the phone. They have every right to put their logo on it (although mine is no long visible as my case covers it up). And the two (yes, there were only two) pre-loaded VZW apps are easily disabled in ICS, or you can completely remove them from the phone if you’re rooted.

    To say this is the worst Nexus device to date is an asinine statement to make. If anything, this is the best Nexus device released to date.

    I’m not sure what the author was expecting from his Nexus device, but perhaps he needs to curb his expectations a bit. The Galaxy Nexus is a fabulous phone and easily the best option on the market at this time.

    • My complaints aren’t about the software or hardware of the device, but rather in the Nexus line as a whole.

  • I wish Google could buy Verizon! That would be awesome! I wonder if they have the money? Anyone knows the financial side of that crazy statement of mine LOL =)

  • Thanks!

  • I’m still using my DInc. While I was waiting for the real life experiences of those with the Nexus to clear the haze of the “OOH SHINY” away and give us a good idea of it’s +/- I installed CM7. 
    It’s like a whole new phone, I’m in love all over again.

  • Although I could see Google making a LOT of money becoming a carrier. I mean they purchased fiber, why can’t they purchase spectrum?

  • Sorry I don’t agree. This is the best nexus yet hands up and down. And not every can nor wants to pay $600 for a phone just for frequent stock android. Sorry but I need the subsidized version and if I want the subsidized version, that carrier is going to have some say in the phone.

  • Anonymous

    I have said it once, and I will say it again. Google needs to seriously look at their business model. Apple works because of one company, one logo, one os and countless advertising campaigns. If I were google I would look into getting my own network and think more about develpoing their own retail locations, pull rank over the carriers by offering a better solution. Google wants to play too stand-off-ish and this just wont work because at the end of the day all the carriers and maufacturers want money and they will destroy the ecosystem with greed.

    • Anonymous

      Pretty sure android is outselling everything on the market. I think Google knows what they are doing.

  • Legendsoftroy

    Quit your bitchin, “wha wha wha”, “google wallet”, “verizon logo”… grow some ball and be happy you finally got what you wanted… don’t like it? Go suck a lemon.

  • Anonymous

    Very nice article Ron. While i think the Galaxy Nexus is a real Google phone, i agree with you that Google should flex their muscle some more. Android SAVED Verizon at a time when Jobs was essentially telling them to kiss his ass!

  • D.B.Evans

    There’s a problem with your statement: ”
    It may be said that it’s impossible to get on a carrier’s network without making concessions, but apparently Apple was able to pull it off. If Apple can do it, Google definitely can.”

    There’s a simple reason Apple could get away with it: consumers demanded an iPhone from Verizon, and the ONLY way Verizon could get an iOS driven phone on their network was by giving in the Apple’s requirements.Compare that to Google’s position.  Customers demand Android devices: and the carrier already provides them from multiple manufacturers.  While those who understand the OS (like most people who frequent sources like DL) will at least know the conceptual differences between a Nexus device, a Droid device, and an Android device … the average consumer walking into a VZW store or reseller does not. For many, they go in asking for a phone running Android – and maybe know enough to ask for more memory and/or faster processors … but don’t know the differences or benefits beyond that.

    It’s a matter of educating the consumer … a tricky task to accomplish successfully. If not done exactly right, it can cause confusion rather than helping the consumer; and potentially can help feed the claims of fragmentation.  Plus, just reaching the consumer can be a challenge; a big source of info for many is the network provider – and they have no incentive to be the one to train customers to want devices/features not currently offered.