Verizon getting an Android phone (with WiFi tethering!) via Open Development program?

Verizon mentioned that it'd pick up "several Android-based devices" as part of its sweeping tie-up with Google last week, and we know two of them -- a tweaked version of the HTC Hero and the unannounced Motorola Sholes / Tao / Droid -- but what else is in the pipe? Turns out that Verizon's historically boring Open Development program -- designed to let anyone with a good attitude and some elbow grease gain the know-how to connect a device to Verizon's network -- is about to heat things up by spitting out an Android handset of its own in early 2010, according to Unstrung. Oh, and the best part? It'll apparently feature WiFi tethering out of the box, a feature carriers are typically loath to support; of course, the whole point of "open development" is that Verizon theoretically shouldn't care what's being developed, so it'll be interesting to see whether the company throws any marketing weight and retail support behind the device or if it'll be left to fight for attention on its own.

[Via PhoneArena]