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Verizon betraying Android principles by mandating Bing?

updated 01:05 pm EDT, Thu September 9, 2010

Verizon may require Bing, contradict Android ideal

Verizon's decision to force the use of Bing as the core search engine on the Samsung Fascinate may be part of a larger change that could undermine Android itself, a rumor hinted today. Two sources for Droid Guy, at least one of them previously accurate, claimed that Verizon is making Microsoft's Bing the mandatory engine on all of its Android phones in the future. It contradicts a previous statement from a Verizon representative that customers could change the search engine on phones if they liked.

While it's not uncommon for carriers to make deals for default search engines, Verizon's approach also prevents owners from choosing an alternative short of installing unofficial firmware, an investigation found. The Google Search widget has been removed and can't be found in Android Market for another download. More than one APK (Android app installer) for Google also fails where they work properly on Samsung Galaxy S variants for other US carriers, such as the AT&T Captivate or T-Mobile Vibrant.

Microsoft is known to have a long-term deal with Verizon for search, but until now there hadn't been active steps to prevent using an alternative. The company may be especially vocal about changing the search on Android devices, since a stock Android phone is immediately a help to Google's search ad revenue.

Regardless of motivations, the restriction if broadly applied would have Verizon reneging on its pledge to support the openness of Android and reflects a wider trend of the OS being artificially restricted by carriers. Most US providers are disabling Android 2.2's tethering support in favor of their own, and AT&T has banned non-Market Android apps under the pretext of security. The moves paradoxically leave Apple's iPhone more open in some areas, as its users can choose Google, Bing or Yahoo for search and don't have first-party apps deliberately hidden or broken.

Verizon has yet to comment on the authenticity of the claims beyond what's been shown to be true with the Fascinate.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jul 2004

    +8

    Same old CDMA carriers.

    Notice how the same phone is not locked down on AT&T and T-Mobile which are both GSM/HSPA carriers? This is why there will never be an iPhone on Verizon. If they change their tactics later, assuming they roll out LTE that is compatible with other carriers, Apple may reconsider but not as long as Verizon insists on controlling the phones.

  1. foo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2010

    -1

    comment title

    ya, putting bing on the Fascinate was a dumb movie, imo. i will not even consider this phone because of that. give, i'd just root it & put google back to the default (eventually..), but i shouldn't have to do that. i buy android phone because of the seamless google integration.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -11

    Oh no!

    may be part of a larger change that could undermine Android itself

    The sky is falling! The earth will shatter! This is what the Mayan calendar portends!

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -9

    Re: Same old CDMA carriers.

    Carriers are carriers. They all do the same thing. It isn't just CDMA carriers.

    Notice how the same phone is not locked down on AT&T and T-Mobile which are both GSM/HSPA carriers?

    Oh, well that proves it. They didn't change the search provider on this phone, so they must be all about open and not locked down.

    Except, as the article states:

    "Most US providers are disabling Android 2.2's tethering support in favor of their own, and AT&T has banned non-Market Android apps under the pretext of security."

    But because they didn't lock down the search engine, they don't get nagged as locking down their phones.

    BTW, ATT has also locked out tethering for over a year on the iPhone, even though it was working in most other markets. But, again, that's OK I guess.

  1. Eldernorm

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007

    +8

    Isn't it funny.......

    Yep. Apple is such a bad company. They lock up their phones so you cannot do what ever you want.....

    OH you have the choice of 3 search engines on the iPhone, And while jailbreaking is not prefered, Apple has not been taking people to court about it either.

    While ATT and Apple have had a contract vs exclusive use, the rest of the world has open access.

    OH wait one more thing....... phones have always been locked down by the carrier... The iPhone was the first one and now maybe the only one to still be controlled by Apple and not the carrier. '

    Just a thought there.

    en

    PS, just picked up my iPhone 4. So far so good. No issues, and just uploaded free 4.1.

    :-)

  1. aross99

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006

    +8

    Gotta love Verizon...

    This is one of the reasons why I have a hard time believing the iPhone is coming to Verizon. I don't think Steve will go for this kind of stuff, and if Verizon won't budge, then no iPhone for them...

    One of the best things about the iPhone is that is isn't overtly crippled by the carrier. Yes, I know about tethering, and bandwidth limits, etc, but those are somewhat understandable. At least they don't bother me.

    What's next, no iTunes on the Verizon iPhone - use the Verizon Music store. Oh, and I can't wait to see the nice shiny red Verizon logo on my iPhone 5.

    No thanks. AT&T may not be perfect, but I'll keep my AT&T iPhone over a Verizon branded one any day...

  1. mjtomlin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999

    +7

    Android open?

    Android is only "open" to handset makers and carriers. This whole idea of it being completely open to customers has always been ridiculous, since the carriers are free to whatever they want with the open source code, including closing up their devices if they wanted.

    Android as a platform, will never take off, there are just way too many variables that both developers and customers have to deal with. Sure there may be a ton of Android based phones sold, but that is in no way indicative of the number of devices that support a particular feature.

    iOS isn't completely immune to this either, but it is mainly due to hardware restrictions of older devices and it is very minimal and clearly laid out. Apple does a good job of adding new software features to older devices whenever possible.

  1. JeffHarris

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999

    +1

    Well...

    SOMEBODY has to pay for Android's "FREE", right?
    Why not Microsoft?

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