Verizon, Google enter pact on Android

Verizon Wireless announced this morning that it has formed a strategy partnership with Google to develop products and services that use Google's Android platform. Although the news hardly comes as a surprise--Verizon has been rumored for months to be one of Motorola's partners for its Android phones--the move gives Android a lift and another strategic partner in the U.S. wireless market aside from Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA.

In a statement, the two companies said they would devote "substantial resources" to innovation and to delivering unique applications to users. According to the companies, that means that Verizon and Google will collaborate on "several" Android phones and that the phones will be preloaded with applications from both parties as well as third-party developers. Verizon said that the during the next few weeks it would introduce the Android handsets.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam and Google CEO Eric Schmidt are holding a conference call to discuss the partnership at 10 a.m. EDT this morning. The high level of corporate involvement suggests that both the operator and the software and search giant consider the deal to be strategically important, and it is reminiscent of when T-Mobile first unveiled the G1--the first Android phone--last fall. At that event in New York City, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin showed up.

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed, nor did the companies specifically say how many Android phones Verizon would launch. It is widely expected that Motorola will release its second Android phone--variously named Sholes, Tao or Droid--with Verizon as it partner. Verizon only said that it would be working with "leading handset manufacturers" on the phones.    

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