Android is open unless you want to change your search engine to Google, or use tethering or Google maps or non-market apps

That means no seamless integration with Gmail. No Google Latitude. No multitouch in the map app, either. And in place of the free and fantastic turn-by-turn Google Navigator app, Verizon installed its VZ Navigator service — a feature which costs $10 a month to use.

It would be one thing for Verizon to set the default search and map app to Bing with the option to switch back to Google. But it’s utterly inexcusable for Verizon to destroy the possibility of a switch without the user having to root the device and, under Verizon’s company policies, void their warranty. And on top of that, repeatedly charge you for a sub-par service instead of keeping the gold standard of navigation apps for free.

And as bad as that is, there’s now a rumor that Verizon will be doing this again. On every single one of its Android devices.

After speaking with a Verizon representative about the Bing debacle on the Fascinate — who also lied about the existence of a search alternative — The Droid Guy contacted two Verizon tipsters who told him that the carrier “is dropping the Google Search from all future Android Devices and offering Bing in it’s [sic] place.”

via Verizon Rumored To Replace Google With Bing On All Android Devices | Markets |

Lots more in the linked article.

This story just keeps getting better and better.

Regardless of motivations, the restriction if broadly applied would have Verizon reneging on its pledge to support the openness of Android and reflects a wider trend of the OS being artificially restricted by carriers. Most US providers are disabling Android 2.2’s tethering support in favor of their own, and AT&T has banned non-Market Android apps under the pretext of security. The moves paradoxically leave Apple’s iPhone more open in some areas, as its users can choose Google, Bing or Yahoo for search and don’t have first-party apps deliberately hidden or broken.

Read more: Electronista