Is Verizon really responsible for Android's success?

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: December 2, 2010

Yesterday, Aaron “Old Man” Baker was on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE conference call and Big Red happened to make a huge implication, that they are responsible for Android's success. While working for PhoneDog, I've seen companies make some pretty bold claims about themselves and other companies, but this is just ludicrous. For Verizon to tell us that we can thank them for Android's success is, at best, off-kilter.

Verizon has strongly pushed the “Droid” brand, convoluted the naming system of all Android devices, and they have definitely added to Android's success. But selling the most Android phones doesn't mean they're responsible for its success. The operating system itself has to appeal to customers, and while Verizon's “Droid does” ad campaign did a decent job of boasting it's benefits and touting iPhone-like apps, Google is responsible for their own work, creating a versatile, functional, easy-to-use, mobile platform.

If Android was terrible software or wasn't so heavily supported by developers, it wouldn't be so popular. In a way, Apple's iPhone would be more responsible for Android's success, for setting the standard for application support and raising the bar for mobile platforms. Verizon could, however, say they are responsible for giving Android a nudge, or kick-starting a “Droid” revolution. I could agree with that, but when it comes down to it, they were just the early bird.

To be honest, Android is partially responsible for getting Verizon off the hook. Buyers have wanted the iPhone on Verizon's reliable network since it launched exclusively on AT&T in 2007. Android is a real, suitable substitution, and in some cases it performs better than the iPhone. If anything, on a software level, Verizon has taken away from the beauty of Android and filled it full of their red-themed bloatware, and it's there to stay. I like Verizon, and I like Android, but I know I'm not alone when I say I don't like the two together.

Google's mobile operating system grew its own hype prior to the launch of the original Android phone, the G1. As a testament to its popularity and pre-destined success, websites like Phandroid.com were around before Android even made its way to consumer hands. A product that can do that surely doesn't need the support of a big headed carrier, especially being being a product of an enormous company like Google. Anyone who claims they are responsible for Android's success is just full of hot air. Android's success can be explained by great, adaptable software, openness and solid support, and open availability on nearly any carrier worldwide. Android is bigger than Verizon; it was destined to be bigger than Big Red from the start.