Over at Gizmodo, Kyle VanHemert has a unique spin on a report that Verizon Wireless will open its own V-Cast app store for Android: Despite the appearance of competition with the proper Android Market, Google may ultimately be happy with the move.
VanHemert quotes an interview last May with Android boss Andy Rubin, who said the platform is “a numbers game.” Essentially, the more products running Android, the better, so if Verizon finds success with the V-Cast app store, it’ll mean more Verizon phones running Android in the future. And that’s ultimately good for Google (even if Verizon occasionally flirts with Bing for search).
I’ve got no problem with that logic, but it assumes a few things about this development that are not guaranteed. Specifically:
- That customers don’t get confused by the presence of two app stores on a single phone
- That Verizon doesn’t scratch or hide the Android Market from its phones to address that confusion
- That Android Market growth doesn’t slow down on account of an alternate, and more strictly regulated, app store
- That Verizon’s master plan doesn’t entail putting a V-Cast app store on all its smartphones, therefore lessening the significance of Android
There’s still a lot to like about the V-Cast app store itself. As Android And Me points out, it’ll offer carrier billing, subscription billing (coming soon) and a cultivated storefront to promote the best apps. But I’d be a lot happier if the Android Market offered those things directly.
Maybe the V-Cast app store will compel Google to improve the Android Market, but let’s not forget that Verizon has the power here, so this is not really competition. V-Cast may look good for Google in the short-term, but it’s a dangerous development for Android in the long run.