Google, Verizon in Talks About a Rival to Apple's iPad

Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

A person tests out an Apple iPad tablet computer at its its debut in San Francisco. Now that most U.S. consumers own mobile phones, Verizon Wireless aims to boost sales of service for other kinds of devices, including e-readers and laptop computers. Close

A person tests out an Apple iPad tablet computer at its its debut in San Francisco. Now... Read More

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Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

A person tests out an Apple iPad tablet computer at its its debut in San Francisco. Now that most U.S. consumers own mobile phones, Verizon Wireless aims to boost sales of service for other kinds of devices, including e-readers and laptop computers.

Google Inc. is in talks with Verizon Wireless to develop a tablet computer that would compete with Apple Inc.’s hit iPad.

The tablet will run on Google’s Android operating system, Marquett Smith, a spokesman for Verizon, said today in a phone interview. He declined to elaborate and said the carrier will release more details later this week.

The device would accelerate the rivalry between Apple and Google, which already compete in wireless software and mobile advertising. Apple released the iPad in the U.S. on April 3 and sold a million of them in 28 days. Mountain View, California- based Google has worked to move beyond its core business of Internet search and into mobile services.

“Everyone is going to have a device that is going to compete with the iPad,” said Al Hilwa, an analyst at research firm IDC in Seattle. “Apple created that market, legitimized it. Everybody has seen that this is going to be huge.”

Google has nothing to announce at this time, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

“Anyone can take the Android platform and add code or download it to create a mobile device without restrictions,” the company said. “We look forward to seeing what contributions are made and how an open platform spurs innovation.”

Google, the world’s most popular search engine, declined $12.60 to $509.05 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. It has dropped 18 percent this year. Verizon Communications Inc., which co-owns Verizon Wireless with Vodafone Group Plc, fell 21 cents to $28.40 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has lost 14 percent this year. Verizon Communications is based in New York.

Verizon Variety

Now that most U.S. consumers own mobile phones, Verizon Wireless aims to boost sales of service for other kinds of devices, including e-readers and laptop computers. The U.S. has enough phones for more than 90 percent of the population, limiting growth opportunities there.

“Obviously, the carriers want to get in on this gig,” Hilwa said. “It’s going to be very competitive.”

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, had a head start over its rivals, releasing the iPad in a “very mature form,” he said.

“It’s probably going to take a year to two years for them to get to the same functionality as the iPad,” Hilwa said.

The Wall Street Journal reported the tablet plans earlier today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in New York at athomson6@bloomberg.net; Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

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