Will Verizon really open its Droid?

Verizon promises an open device with its Droid smartphone, but its history says differently.

Open up the Droid

Verizon's recent iPhone attack ad featuring its upcoming Droid smartphone has the tech world buzzing, and iPhone fans are taking notice. The iPhone Blog even posted a point-by-point reply to the commercial's claims. While most of its arguments center on minutia (see the bit about the keyboard) the iPhone Blog makes one very good point concerning open development.

"Really, Verizon, with your history, you want to play that card?" Rene Ritchie wrote. "Android is an about face for you, not a two-face. We'll wait and see on this one." Indeed, we will have to wait and see. Though the Google Android OS is all about being open, Verizon's has a long history of locking down Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS on its phone. What's more, it imposed a frustrating and poorly designed standardized menu interface across its handsets.

On the upside, Verizon has been drifting away from its control-freak past over the past year, but Android marks a distinct change. If Verizon is to deliver Android as it's intended to be, then it will allow for real user customization of the device and not customization as the carrier wants you to have it. Come on, Verizon, be the "dumb pipe" that customers want.

About the author

Senior Managing Editor Kent German leads the CNET Reviews editors in San Francisco. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he still writes about the wireless industry and occasionally his passion for commercial aviation.

 

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