The Wall Street Journal today reported that Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon, announced that a Google tablet would be coming to the Red Network (so named because of its favorite color and not any communist sympathies—that we know about. I’ve got my eye on you, McAdam.).
“What do we think the next big wave of opportunities are?” Mr. McAdam said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “We’re working on tablets together, for example. We’re looking at all the things Google has in its archives that we could put on a tablet to make it a great experience.”
The iPad’s success on Verizon rival AT&T shows that a tablet connected to a wireless carrier could mean serious sales, and it’s only natural that Verizon should want a piece. But Verizon has a history of coming late to the party on new technologies. In the massively profitable consumer smartphone sector, Verizon waited for years as AT&T released the iPhone, Sprint released the Palm Pre, and T-Mobile released the first two Android devices. They’ve made great progress in the last six months or so, and a Google tablet would certainly help continue their streak of solid products like the Droid, Incredible, and Palm Pre Plus.
Though Google has two lightweight OSes, Android and Chrome OS, any tablet would likely run Android. Unlike Chrome OS, Android is app-based and designed from the ground up for touch, both vital elements of our current conception of a tablet computer, while the still-unreleased Chrome OS is designed for netbooks and their accompanying keyboards and trackpads.
More interesting is the idea that Verizon might be the first to start charging by the amount of data, rather than the device. Currently, smartphones rely on an unlimited (but mandatory) data plan, a model that will increasingly become untenable as data pre-empts voice as the most important use of smartphones. Many have predicted that wireless carriers will soon have to do away with unlimited data plans, which McAdam seems to confirm.
“The old model of one price plan per device is going to fall away,” Mr. McAdam said, adding that he expects carriers to take an approach that targets a “bucket of megabytes.”
So we’ve really got minimal information confirmed here, but there are a lot of reasonable assumptions to make. A tablet running Google’s Android OS will come to Verizon and compete with Apple‘s iPad, and it will probably bring with it a new pricing plan that makes more sense for the carriers (and hopefully for customers as well). Hopefully Verizon can get this thing released sooner rather than later.