Verizon has introduced a device called the Verizon Hub in a bid to make the home phone more dynamic and prevent further declines of the wireline (wireless only households in the US are estimated to be at about 18% or so). It uses both a wireline and wireless broadband Internet connection.
According to the press release:
Information will be at a family’s fingertips, literally from an easy-to-navigate touch screen with clear icons on the Verizon Hub. Families will start and end their days with nuggets of customized information from the Verizon Hub:
- Check local traffic and weather in the morning before leaving the house
- Update your calendar and automatically receive a text when an appointment changes or as a reminder not to be late
- Get directions to the new site when the location for soccer practice is moved
- Find the number of the new pizza parlor to order a pie
- Preview the trailers from an upcoming movie that you might want to take the family to over the weekend, then purchase tickets using the Verizon Hub
The Hub is quite similar in intention and design (touch screen) to the AT&T Home Manager (a landline phone with a touch screen), which has received mixed reviews.
I haven’t used the Verizon Hub and it’s not clear how much the device costs — that will be a driver of success or failure. The “closed universe” of the AT&T Home Manager will be mostly unsatisfying. Beyond cost, the success or failure of these devices, will be the degree to which their screens offer real utility and something that approaches genuine Internet access.