It’s been a year and half since I first wrote about the Verizon Hub, but with launch date details finally confirmed (Feb 1), the Internet is all aflutter about this device. Tech specs are still fuzzy, but what we do know is that this is a cordless phone system with a touchscreen for Internet access and integration with Verizon wireless and VoIP phone services. It’s meant to act as a digital photo frame, note board, family calendar, and widget station all at once. According to a Wall Street Journal article, the broadband phone costs $199 with a two-year contract and a $50 rebate. There’s also – and this is the kicker – a $35 monthly charge.
There are very few things that would make me want to add another large bill to my monthly roster, and I have to question Verizon’s timing on this device. A year and a half ago there weren’t very many IP-based gadgets for the home, but that’s changed, making the Verizon Hub less revolutionary than it might have been. Add that to a disastrous economy, and one has to wonder how many consumers will shell out money for this device.
When I first saw the Verizon Hub, it was also linked to FiOS TV – letting you control TV settings and access the FiOS Media Manager software for viewing your own photos and video on a big screen – but there’s no mention of that now. An oversight? A future feature release?
As a final note, it appears the Verizon Hub may not be the only broadband home device Verizon has in the works. A commenter over at Engadget linked to photos of a “soon to be released” Verizon phone he purportedly saw at an Intel event. A little research finds the device is something called OpenFrame, which Gizmodo covered last summer. It’s hard to imagine that Verizon could have another broadband phone launch planned in the near future. Maybe OpenFrame is headed to another carrier?
For more photos of the Verizon Hub as it looked when Dave & I visited Verizon’s demo room in 2007, click here.
UPDATE: It looks like the Verizon Hub is also made by OpenPeak, the company behind OpenFrame.