Much of the talk surrounding the impact of Verizon gaining the iPhone has centered on a potential loss by AT&T. However, a new theory is gaining a foothold that a Verizon iPhone could instead hurt Apple’s rival Google. Indeed, one analyst Wednesday goes so far as to predict Tuesday’s announcement will “suck the wind out of Android’s growth on Verizon.”
Here’s how the theory goes: although smartphones comprise a small segment of the overall cell phone market, they are a growing portion. Until now, feature phone owners looking to move to smartphones could either switch from Verizon to AT&T and get an iPhone, or stick with their carrier and buy one of the many Android phones flooding the airwaves. Now, yesterday’s announcement means Verizon customers can have their cake and eat it too – they can stay with their network and have an iPhone.
“Where the iPhone will have a dramatic impact is on the brand choices of feature phone users migrating to smartphones,” Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf said. “The iPhone will suck the wind out of Android’s growth on Verizon,” he adds.
This echos what analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros. told us. The iPhone on Verizon “will put considerable pressure on Android,” a point he said should not be underestimated. He called making the handset available on the top two mobile U.S. carriers “the first true test for Android whether its share gains are real or just a temporary phenomenon due to weak competition from BlackBerry, Windows, webOS, Nokia, and others.”
In a pointed reference indicating Verizon no longer needs Android phones to compete with AT&T, the carrier told its subscribers they can exchange Android-based phones received as a Christmas gift for the iPhone.