According to the Times, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is motivated to end his exclusivity deal with AT&T because of the strong momentum behind the Android platform. Google's open source OS has been gaining market share at the expense of the Cupertino based firm's handset. Unlike the iPhone, which has been wedded in the U.S. to AT&T since its 2007 launch, Android phones are available from each of the top four U.S. carriers and encompass a wide range of models from entry level to high-end units.
The information was given to the paper by an anonymous source who said that the plans were confidential and that he did not want to risk losing his contacts over at Apple. The story says that the device being made is a version of the current release-the Apple iPhone 4-and will be ready for launch early next year.
According to ratings firm Nielsen, over the last 6 months, 32% of the smartphones purchased in the U.S. were powered by Android, compared to the 25% reading for the iPhone. Making the model available for Verizon does two things toi slow down Android's growth. First, it brings a device to Big Red that most of its customers have coveted since its launch on AT&T. Secondly, without Apple's handset, Verizon has pushed Android hard to U.S. smartphone buyers with heavy use of television ads. Once the nation's top carrier has the Apple iPhone in its grasp, we could see a major slowdown in the carrier's Android advertising as it starts to promote its new addition.
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