NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Verizon ( VZ - Get Report) and Google ( GOOG - Get Report) say they are stepping up to the Apple ( AAPL - Get Report) iPad challenge, even as some tech giants like Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ - Get Report) and Microsoft ( MSFT) retreat from the tablet battle. After watching the big splash of Apple's iPad and the added success of an AT&T ( T - Get Report) powered 3G version of the device, Verizon Wireless chief Lowell McAdam told The Wall Street Journal that his company and Google were "working on tablets together."
The anti-Apple magic will likely include Google's Web-based Chrome operating system, say analysts. If the one-million-Apple-iPads-sold milepost has taught skeptics anything, it's that people will gladly spend $500 to $830 for a device that is both a lousy computer and an oversized smartphone. And as we have seen in recent weeks, computer makers need not apply for openings in this new category. The Apple iPad is a low-power media viewer, a game player and a Web surfer. It is what futurists used to call a network appliance. The key feature of this new category of tablets is what they can pull from the network -- or the so-called cloud. In Apple's case, the network also includes the popular iTunes, iBooks and App Store. Google has been a pioneer in cloud computing, Net searches, Web-based Gmail, YouTube; these are all Google services that reside on the network, and are delivered to the device. The Chrome operating system continues that trend by effectively making the browser your control screen to open files and run applications on the Net. Verizon wants a role in the delivery of mobile cloud computing, and Google is clearly the biggest partner to take on the Apple force. --Written by Scott Moritz in New York.