Verizon Wireless today announced a significant shift in strategy for their device and software strategies. For years, Verizon has taken a closed nature to the release of devices and applications on their network. The company pioneered draconian lockdown techniques, such as the Verizon Wireless User Interface, and earlier, BREW technology.
BREW applications exist in a “walled garden” that forbids the use of third-party software. Software must be tested and approved for use by Verizon Wireless, for sale on their network. This has locked out free software, such as Google Maps, Opera Mini, and countless user-built applications.
Today Verizon announced that they will establish a $20 million facility specifically to support the development of open handsets and software. Titled the “Any App, Any Device” initiative, Verizon is matching plans previously announced by Sprint to support third-party device development, as well as third-party software development.
Details of implementation are not clear, but we can derive how such processes will work based on what sources have informed PhoneNews.com in the past. Initially, software will be submitted to Verizon for free (or possibly a small fee), and then be published on the Get-it-Now vending machine. Eventually, Verizon will deploy a BREW option to run unsigned applications in a protected sandbox.
Device submission is less clear, but it appears Verizon will follow the same set of techniques to share access details, and perform minimal testing to ensure that critical functions (data, E911) function properly without causing issues with Verizon’s network. Verizon has not committed to SIM-based techniques, such as R-UIM, but Verizon is keeping that as an option should the process become popular.