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Is new tablet computer tied to Google-Verizon deal?

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Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 4:23 pm

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Is new tablet computer tied to Google-Verizon deal?

When Google and Verizon (G-V) announced their “joint policy framework” on net neutrality, the search giant denied its new position had been shaped by its alliance with the telecom giant.

Numerous critics note the proposal effectively abandoned Google’s once clear-cut defense of net neutrality. Among the most noteworthy retreats: advocating that net neutrality not be required for wireless devices.

Then came a  Download Squad report this week that Google and Verizon plan to market a tablet computer this November to compete with Apple’s IPad. The idea has been in development since last year. Google has put out key concepts and design proposals for Web developers. In short, the unnamed tablet is exactly the sort of wireless device that G-V prefer not be governed by net neutrality.

What  Gigaom said about the G-V policy proposal is equally true of the tablet: “it doesn’t take a lot to see Verizon angling to protect its ability to profit over its control over its pipes.”

Google’s defense is likely to be price. The Download Square report suggested that Verizon will subsidize the hardware in order to drastically undercut Apple’s pricey $499 Ipad.

“You can bet Google’s Chrome OS tablet will be heavily subsidized, and I’d go so far as to say it will be substantially cheaper than the iPad — if not totally free — with a Verizon data contract.”

A free device sounds like a nice consumer benefit. But it could also help pave the way to a two-tiered internet where top-quality service depends on a contract with Verizon.

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This post was written by:

Margot Williams

- who has written 49 posts on Inside Google.

Margot Williams has more than two decades of experience in roles as investigative researcher, research editor, database editor, technology trainer and library director at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Gannett newspapers and Time Warner. She was lead researcher on two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams at The Washington Post for reporting on terrorism in 2002 and for an investigation of the use of deadly force by the District of Columbia police in 1999. Margot is the co-author of “Great Scouts! CyberGuides for Subject Searching on the Web” (Cyberage Books, 1999) and contributed to the “Networkings” column in The Washington Post for five years.

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