iPhone on Verizon: Big trouble for Android?

Verizon iPhone hits the market in February. Some analysts think this second iPhone could draw consumers away from the rising Android army.

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    Verizon iPhone could spell headaches for Google and its Android OS. At left, a Verizon iPhone at an event in NYC.
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Common sense has that it the Verizon iPhone, which was announced recently and should hit shelves by February, will do extensive damage to AT&T. Makes sense: For years, AT&T has had an exclusive deal with Apple to sell the iPhone. That now-shattered exclusivity meant big bucks for AT&T, and plenty of headaches for disgruntled AT&T customers unable to switch carriers.

A Verizon iPhone, the logic goes, will be a magnet – or a beacon; choose your metaphor – attracting former AT&T users, along with a large swath of Verizon customers who have long lusted after an iPhone of their own. But could the Verizon iPhone also spell trouble for Android, Google's popular mobile operating system? The short answer: yes.

"This is going to be a huge deal for Verizon. They are going to sell so many of these it's going to make people's heads spin, but it's not going to kill AT&T," Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, told the site NewsFactor.com. Instead, Greengart predicts that the Verizon iPhone will make things difficult for carriers such as Sprint, who may see users jumping ship for Verizon – and for Google.

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Greengart's reasoning has to do with the preponderance of Android phones on the Verizon network. He and other market watchers think that Verizon consumers will be hard-pressed to choose an Android phone – even a fancy one like the Droid – when they could have an Apple iPhone. Is he right? Not necessarily, says Digital Trends' Ryan Fleming. (Fleming's article is worth reading in its entirety, which you can do here.)

"Although the iPhone is going to soon be on both Verizon and AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile will also both continue to nurture their Android phones, ensuring that Google’s OS will continue to thrive even if Apple does insanely well at Verizon," Fleming writes. "Many are assuming that the iPhone’s arrival will slant the market in Apple’s favor, and it will certainly make an impact."

However, Fleming continues, "the arrival of the iPhone might signify the dilution of any single competitor rather than the superiority of one. Android was able to grow because iPhone was caged by AT&T, and because of that, the Google OS exploded and expanded. RIM managed to solidify its customer base, while Windows 7 has made small, but decent progress over the last few months."

Android, he concludes, "is not going anywhere."

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