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Verizon to release Android handsets

Google and Verizon Wireless are forming a partnership to "leverage" the latter's 3G network and the former's Android mobile operating system. Expect Android handsets from Verizon in the next few weeks.

Update at 5 a.m. PDT Tuesday: Google and Verizon Wireless announced they are forming a partnership to "leverage" Verizon's 3G network and Google's Android platform to deliver mobile applications, services, and devices. They plan to co-develop "several Android-based devices," and Verizon will release Android handsets in the next few weeks, the companies said.

Google and Verizon Wireless plan to hold a joint press conference Tuesday morning on the eve of the CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment Show, they announced late Monday night.

Details were scarce, and a Google representative declined to comment on the nature of the conference. But given the timing and participants--Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam--it seems the companies are ready to talk about plans for Google's Android mobile operating system.

Verizon has yet to release an Android device. At present, the carrier leans on Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones, as well as Windows Mobile phones. But rumors have been building for months about Verizon hooking up with Google on a number of Android-powered phones from companies like Motorola and HTC: The Boy Genius Report reported Sunday that Best Buy plans to offer an Android device for Verizon's network.

It's likewise not clear whether we are talking about a smartphone, a Netbook, or something else entirely. It will be interesting to see how Verizon's traditional policy of tight control over the software that runs on its network meshes with Google's free-and-open approach to Android applications.