It would appear that Verizon's love affair with Microsoft is not as dead as it appeared. Despite not currently offering any active WinMo handsets (only old-stock), Verizon is still very willing to work with their partner. In this example, we see a collection of Verizon Wireless Android handsets coming with Bing as the default search engine instead of Google. The story doesn't end there, however, as on some handsets it is impossible to change it back.
Let's take the Samsung Fascinate as our working example. It is the Verizon Samsung Galaxy S phone (T-Mobile Vibrant, AT&T Captivate, Sprint Epic 4G) which is the most impressive series of Android handsets I have had the opportunity to use yet. The Fascinate, however, has a few alterations that make it a lot less impressive than the rest.
To read what Verizon has done to the Fascinate, hit the break.
We'll start with the fact that you cannot change the search engine away from Bing. You must use it or start at the Google search site before searching. Why is that? Because Verizon has also gone as far as to hide the Google Search app from the handset so you can't even get around it that way. If you want Google search, you will have to void your warranty and root your phone.
If this wasn't enough incentive for you to root your phone, how about this - you cannot use Google Maps Navigation app. Instead, you are required to use the VZ Navigator, which is $10 per month instead of free like the Google version. At least the VZ Navigator isn't as good for the extra money.
Verizon Wireless isn't the first US carrier to load their crap onto an Android handset without the ability to remove it. AT&T's Backflip, arguably the worst Android phone yet, was loaded with AT&T-specific apps that were irremovable but this is the first time we have seen a carrier truly cripple the openness of the platform to this extent but Verizon has assured the market it won't be the last.
Would you still consider an Android phone even if it isn't as open as the rest of the line? Let us know in the comments section.