Hands On with the Verizon Hub  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

The Verizon Hub, a souped-up home voice-over-Internet phone sold (confusingly) by Verizon Wireless, could eventually become the hub of your home. But right now, it costs too much and provides too few services to live up to its potential.

I got an hour-long demo of the Hub, so this isn't a full review, but I did get a good picture of what the phone will be. It will be priced at $199.99 (including a $50 mail-in rebate) plus $34.99/month when it goes on sale on Feb. 1 at Verizon Wireless stores.

The Hub's idea is a good one: replace your home phone with a touch-screen PC that lives in your kitchen or living room. And the Hub's hardware delivers. Based on OpenPeak's OpenFrame design, it has an 8-inch, 800-by-480 touch screen that is quick, responsive, and easy to use. Next to the touch screen (and next to the unit's speakerphone) is a removable candybar-style DECT 6.0 cordless phone with customizable wallpapers and ringtones. You can buy additional handsets from Verizon; they didn't tell us the price for those.

The Hub makes its calls over any wired or Wi-Fi Internet connection, but here comes the first problem: you have to have at least one Verizon Wireless mobile phone to subscribe to the service. No, this isn't a mobile phone, it's a home phone, but Verizon only wants to sell it to its own wireless subscribers. And you don't need to use Verizon DSL. You can use it with any Internet ISP. You just need a Verizon Wireless line. But it's not a wireless phone. Confusing, I know.

The Hub starts up with a home screen with customizable wallpaper and "widgets" showing the time, weather, and details about your voice mail and messages. Tap a large "menu" button to get the Hub's basic menu. Along with an address book and calendar, the Hub can send and receive text and picture messages (though only from Verizon Wireless phones), watch movie trailers and buy tickets, view a set of canned video clips on various topics, get local traffic information for 35 cities, search for businesses, and track kids' phones using the Verizon Wireless Chaperone feature. (full Story)

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This entry was posted on Feb 4, 2009 at 11:12 AM and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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