Verizon's big ad push for Android takes on iPhone

Oct 19, 2009
In this Oct. 6, 2009 photo, Lowell McAdam, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless, holds Motorola cell phone containing android software, during a joint announcement with Google in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

(AP) -- An aggressive TV ad campaign from Verizon Wireless is adding to the support building for a software package from Google Inc. that is shaping up to be the most formidable challenge yet to Apple Inc.'s iPhone.

The commercials for the "Droid" phone, being made by Motorola Inc., list features that the lacks, such as a physical keyboard and the ability to run applications simultaneously. It ends with the tag line "Everything iDon't. Droid does."

It's not the first ad from a wireless carrier to take aim at the iPhone's weaknesses. Notably, Sprint Nextel Corp.'s ads for the Samsung Instinct and the Palm Pre have compared these devices to the iPhone. But the Verizon ads come at a sensitive time for the iPhone, as user frustration with the network of the sole U.S. iPhone carrier, AT&T Inc., is growing.

gets high marks for its network quality, but it has lacked a "smart" phone that can match the iPhone's ease of use and breadth of third-party applications. The touch-screen BlackBerry Storm, which launched last year, is the closest Verizon has come, but the first Storm got lukewarm reviews and was plagued by software problems.

The Droid will run Google's Android software, which is gathering momentum as a platform for a range of manufacturers, in contrast to the Apple-only model of the iPhone.

T-Mobile USA and Sprint already have Android phones. With Verizon, the largest U.S. carrier, now on board, the free software package becomes more attractive to software developers who want to reach the widest possible audience for their applications. A wealth of applications, in turn, helps attract customers to a phone.

The ads don't show the phone or reveal a price or a launch date more specific than "November." But the home page for the ad campaign, http://www.droiddoes.com , sends viewers to another site that has "Motorola" in the address. And two weeks ago Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam posed for an Associated Press photographer with an Android phone carrying the Motorola and Verizon brands.

(At the same event, the photographer captured what appeared to be a version of HTC Corp.'s Hero phone. It is expected to be the second Android phone Verizon Wireless releases. It's already available from Sprint and T-Mobile, and is more like the iPhone, lacking the slide-out keyboard of the Motorola model.)

McAdam said at the event that Verizon Wireless was putting "substantial resources" into developing and selling Android phones - an unusual initiative for a carrier that has previously relied mainly on manufacturers to supply it with competitive devices. It's not clear how much Verizon is spending on the Droid , however.

The campaign is an important endorsement for Motorola, which started using the Android software as part of a turnaround effort. The cell phone maker is struggling to recover from a multiyear drop in sales. Motorola started selling its first , the Cliq, on Monday through T-Mobile USA. Motorola has previously made smart phones using Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Mobile software, but these haven't been big sellers.

shares rose 62 cents, or 7.9 percent, to $8.47 in Monday afternoon trading. Shares of Verizon Communications Inc., which owns Verizon Wireless along with Vodafone Group PLC of Britain, were unchanged at $28.90.

The heavy anti-iPhone message of the ads shouldn't be taken as a sign that Verizon Wireless won't eventually carry the iPhone. Having a viable alternative to the iPhone could strengthen Verizon's hand in negotiations with Apple.

The terms of the exclusivity agreement between Apple and AT&T are secret, but there has been speculation that it could end next year. However, the current version of the iPhone doesn't work fully on any national U.S. network expect AT&T's, so Apple would need to produce new versions of the for Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint.

Sticking to one carrier doesn't appear to be Apple's long-term goal. In several countries, there are multiple iPhone carriers. Canada will soon have three, for example.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: SR Labs research to expose BadUSB next week in Vegas

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Motorola, in need of hit, shows off Android phone

Sep 10, 2009

(AP) -- Struggling phone maker Motorola unveiled its first device using Google's Android system Thursday, banking on it to power features that will attract consumers looking to use their phones to connect ...

Verizon Wireless downplays Linux phones

Apr 01, 2009

(AP) -- Verizon Wireless considers Linux-based software a possible long-term contender for use on its phones, but doesn't view it as a "preferred" solution, the carrier's head said.

Recommended for you

SR Labs research to expose BadUSB next week in Vegas

34 minutes ago

A Berlin-based security research and consulting company will reveal how USB devices can do damage that can conduct two-way malice, from computer to USB or from USB to computer, and can survive traditional ...

3D TV may be the victim of negative preconceptions

9 hours ago

An academic from Newcastle University, UK, has led a lab-based research, involving 433 viewers of ages from 4 to 82 years, in which participants were asked to watch Toy Story in either 2D or 3D (S3D) and report on their viewing ...

Microsoft unveils Xbox in China as it faces probe

Jul 30, 2014

Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled its Xbox game console in China, the first to enter the market after an official ban 14 years ago, even as it faces a Chinese government probe over business practices.

A smart wristband for nocturnal cyclists

Jul 29, 2014

Five EPFL PhD students have developed a wristband that flashes when the rider reaches out to indicate a turn. Their invention was recognized at a European competition.

Lenovo's smart glasses prototype has battery at neck

Jul 28, 2014

China's PC giant Lenovo last week offered a peek at its Google Glass-competing smart glass prototype, further details of which are to be announced in October. Lenovo's glasses prototype is not an extreme ...

User comments : 0