As I write this, Verizon is preparing to introduce the iPhone 4 to its 90-some-odd million subscribers. Since 2007 the iPhone has been an AT&T exclusive, leaving Verizon with the flexibility to explore other platforms. They did this starting in late 2009, as it started to pimp the Motorola Droid and the Android platform. Since then Verizon has become one of the largest, if not the largest itself, Android provider. How will that change with the introduction of the iPhone? I’m not sure, exactly, but I’m fairly certain that little will change initially. In fact, this move appears to affect AT&T more than it affects Verizon. Previously a laggard in the Android game, AT&T introduced a number of Android devices, with a focus on HSPA+ models, at CES last week. Clearly they’re preparing for a leveled playing field. They’ve done a good job, too, as the three major devices it announced — the HTC Inspire, the Samsung Infuse, and the Motorola Atrix — appear to be as good as the best that Verizon carries. That leaves us wondering where this leaves Verizon. Will they cut down on their Droid profile now that they’re carrying the most direct competitor? Will they try to fuel competition among their own handsets? Again, I’m not sure. But right now we know that Verizon will move forward with at least a couple of high-end Android handsets, and that those handsets will be faster than the iPhone. As Matt Buchanan of Gizmodo reminds us, this is not a new product for Apple. It is simply the release of an existing product on a new carrier. Apple will undoubtedly release a new iPhone in June, so sales might not spike on Verizon — well, at least among those who realize that Apple will put out a new iPhone soon enough. That should limit switches now. And when people have an upgrade between now and the new iPhone, they might find a number of the Android handsets more attractive. Those who, like Zach Epstein of Boy Genius Report, need a fast handset will find the LTE Android handsets on Verizon a bit more attractive. As Epstein notes, Verizon’s 3G network might be reliable, but it’s not that fast. LTE will help provide that speed boost, so those looking for a fast handset could easily pass over the iPhone in favor a faster, and newer, Android device. This is another reason why AT&T customers might not jump over to Verizon, at least until the new iPhone gets released later this year. Again, that’s when things will get interesting. Apple will in all likelihood announce a new iPhone around June and start selling it closely thereafter. Where does that leave Android? Well, according to another BGR post, they could be rolling out Ice Cream, 2.4, at that point. I’m somewhat doubtful, since they’ve been slow to roll out other OS platforms, including Gingerbread, but the rumor is there. If they do get Ice Cream out around the time of the fifth iPhone, that will represent a third OS upgrade since the last iPhone release. To me, that’s the biggest difference between the two platforms. Android continually evolves, while the iPhone stagnates. I think Android would do well to hammer home that point come June. There might be a lot of people excited for a Verizon iPhone, but I’m not too interested in what happens between now and June. Android clearly has the upper hand, no matter how many more people are exposed to the same old iPhone. And by the time Apple releases its new device this year we could see a whole new generation of Android handsets.