Verizon and Google's Android announcement earlier this week came as no great surprise, given the rumors circulating for months before hand about the devices Motorola are believed to have developed for the carrier. However, a third handset might shake up the segment; according to Unstrung, the first Android device certified through Verizon's Open Development program is expected to land in early 2010, complete with MiFi-style wireless sharing.
The Open Development program is Verizon's attempt to encourage third-party device manufacturers to use the carrier's network, with a basic set of specifications to which any device must adhere - described as protecting the stability and usability of the network - beyond which the support and management of the device is left up to the developer. Unstrung claim that the Android handset - which is expected to be the third Android device on Verizon - is a smartphone "from a small, specialist player" and that it's expected to be able to share its cellular data connection via WiFi in the same manner as Novatel Wireless' MiFi routers.
Beyond that, however, there's no detail as to who the producer might be, nor what the smartphone itself might be like. Android was vaunted as being an easy way for small developers to get their devices speedily to market, as they wouldn't have to either pay licensing fees or create their own OS; it seems somebody has actually taken Google up on that suggestion.