Verizon De-HUBs

A big thank you to Dave Zatz for pointing out that Verizon Wireless today decided to discontinue the HUB. This product has been very interesting to watch as it represents a fundamental rethinking of the “home phone” and could have changed the industry for the better.

But as is typical of Verizon Wireless, they’ve managed to kill the goose before the golden egg could emerge. Actually, that’s not a fair characterization of the project. They sealed its fate with their typically heavy-handed need to for cash & control. They held the goose so tight that it could never breathe, much less lay an egg.

As Dave points out, the device and its associated service was simply priced beyond the reach of its appeal.

verizonhub

The pity is that the OEM, OpenPeak, really does have an attractive hardware platform. If Verizon took a more open approach to allowing third party development of widgets, and better pricing, they could have had a winner. It needed to be a lot cooler to merit dealing with the contract terms.

Oddly enough, in just the past week I’ve met a customer in Maryland who actually has the HUB. She almost fits the profile of what I would consider a suitable user. She’s an artist at a TV station, a Mac user, but not an iPhone user. She appreciates the aesthetic of the device, and its possible functionality. But she hates the fact that simple things like caller ID simply don’t work.

She tells me that Verizon’s service has been good, but the device itself has been troublesome. Verizon promised to “make it work” but so far hasn’t managed to deliver. One wonders how much of that is the glorious network (ie the service) vs the hardware or software? She thinks that she can get out of the two year contract on the basis of the devices simple failure to perform as promised.

One thing is certain, with Cloud Telecomputers coming out of hiding with their Android-powered, multimedia-capable widget platform…that happens to be a phone…there appears to be more than one player working towards a bright new vision of the desk phone. I certainly hope that we haven’t heard the last of OpenPeak.