Multiple stars are suddenly aligning for Google's open-source Android operating system, and the key to how it will succeed long-term (giving Apple's iPhone, RIM's BlackBerry and Nokia's phones serious competition) is coming into view: flexibility. And it's on the smartphone front that Android has seen the biggest benefits from its flexibility. After months of speculation, Verizon Wireless and Google have announced a far-reaching partnership that will result in everything from new Android handsets (only weeks away) to development of new Android applications. Among several types of upside that Android will benefit from through this deal, the platform gains a new, heavy-hitting wireless carrier in addition to the two it already has — and therefore gains more carrier choice — a form of flexibility that calls out one of the iPhone's most glaring shortcomings.
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