Apparently Verizon is actually serious about releasing their long promised home phone/information appliance, now known as the Verizon Hub. The device, an OpenPeak design reportedly made by Samsung, combines a cordless phone with a variety of other functions on the large LCD display. I admit it’s pretty, but not as nice a newer OpenPeak prototypes that we’ve seen online.
The phone portion of the device is VoIP based, so no POTS line required or even possible. People living any area with E911 service will be able to port their number to the service to take advantage of the gadget. The device itself costs cost $250 but there’s a $50 rebate initially. The service behind the device is $35/mo with a 2 year contract and includes unlimited calling minutes. Presumably those are US domestic local & long distance minutes.
They claim that the device can sync its various calendar and contact functions with Verizon Wireless cellular phones in the household. It’s also reported to have a variety of convenience capabilities including SMS, online maps, weather reporting and basically all the stuff you’d expect from any decent phone.
What it does not do is browse the web or read email, or most of things that would have you spending time in front of a PC. It also doesn’t have femtocell, so it doesn’t help your cell coverage indoors.
The software running on the phone supports loading “widgets” to add specific functionality. Widgets might include an RSS reader, or integration with Papa John’s online pizza ordering (just for example, I made it up.) I suspect a large amount of its appeal will be defined by the library of available widgets and ease of which developers can create new widgets.
It’s certainly a little expensive, but it’s sheer sex appeal could overcome that in many cases. The service is no bargain, right on par with all the major residential VoIP services. No deal here.
If someone could integrate simple home automation controls, security system access, music system controls and the like then perhaps this thing has a future. If not it will be at least as successful as it’s predecessor, the VoIP deprived Verizon One. That is, another flop.
I suspect that we could be interested in getting one just to give it a try. But a local Verizon Wireless store is going to have to let me get hands-on before I’ll commit to such a contract. It’s also gotta support more than one cordless handset. Oh yeah, it’s gotta be SIP based and I wanna be able to hack it for my own purposes.
Wanna know more? Here are some links: