We still don't know what happened in the 700MHz auction
, but Verizon's going full steam ahead with its open-network policy, holding a press conference today to detail the "Any Apps, Any Device" plan
announced back in November. Things should get rolling retail-style by the second half of the year, and it looks like all hardware manufacturers have to do is get their devices certified by Verizon, which characterized the technical requirements as being only slightly stricter than industry standards -- the goal is to allow access to the network without causing problems, but other than that there aren't any UI rules or anything like that. Peace out, BREW. Only FCC-approved devices will be taken in for testing, and there's a fee for certification, but in return manufacturers are promised a four-week turnaround (eight weeks for the "best practices" cert), with mandatory re-testing every 36 months. As far as apps go, it's a free for all -- customers can do as they wish. Verizon said that the open policy will still be in force when LTE rolls out -- the big push into EV-DO was a winning bet, so it's going to try and be aggressive with 4G as well. The best part? A new flat-rate, multi-device service plan is being considered that would allow all your mobile devices to connect for the price of a single subscription. All in all, a surprising set of announcements for Big Red -- in one fell swoop, it's gone from the most locked-down carrier being at least on par with the GSM networks, and potentially even more flexible if these pricing plans actually pan out. Hmmm, is that a mad rush of Android devs we hear?
*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.