Verizon Reinvents the Home Phone

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News Posted: Fri, Jan 23 2009 6:52 PM

One of the reasons why cell phones are increasingly replacing landlines as the only phone service in some households is because cell phones can typically do much more than landline-based telephone units can. Cell phones have essentially become miniature computers with sophisticated audio-visual capabilities; whereas most landline phones do little more than make and receive phone calls and perhaps also act as speakerphones or answering machines. Verizon Wireless is looking to change your expectations of what a landline phone can do with its new Verizon Hub telephone, which includes a lot of the functionality you would expect from a multimedia cell phone.

Strictly speaking, the Verizon Hub is not actually a landline in that it does not use POTS (plain old telephone service). Instead, the Verizon Hub is actually a VoIP-based telephone that uses a high-speed Internet connection. The Internet connection can come from any provider--it does not have to come from Verizon; however, in order to use the Verizon Hub, you will have to subscribe to a Verizon Hub service plan (of which details are not available yet). But what the Verizon Hub aims to do is bring a new level of multimedia and interactive functionality to the home phone.

Verizon Wireless refers to the Verizon Hub as a "souped-up home communications system," which can update "the tools busy families can use to manage their lives." The Verizon Hub includes a color touchscreen which allows you to visually access weather, traffic, directions, look up phone numbers, and even watch movie trailers and then purchase tickets to see that movie. The Verizon Hub includes an integrated calendar that can be set to send you text message appointment reminders. You can even access the information on the Verizon Hub remotely from a "companion Web site," which lets you do things like adding new calendar entries and new contacts. You can even have the Verizon Hub send "audible turn-by-turn directions" to Verizon Wireless mobile phone. Verizon Wireless reports that you can access V CAST content on the Visual Hub and that when it is not in use, it can act as a digital picture frame. As to phone-specific functions, the Verizon Hub includes visual voicemail and "robust contact list management."

Verizon Wireless has yet to release any specific technical information about the Verizon Hub, but we were able to glean a few bits of information from the photo that Verizon Wireless supplied with the press release. The upper-right-hand corner of the screen shows Wi-Fi strength signal. This leads us to believe that the Verizon Hub will include integrated Wi-Fi as well as an Ethernet port. Also, the weather forecast on the screen looks suspiciously like a widget; which has us wondering if users will be able to customize the display with different widgets, such as a news feed or stock ticker. Lastly, the handset appears to be wireless; which has wondering if you'll be to add additional satellite handsets as you can with most modern cordless phone systems. We should know soon enough as the press release implies that the Verizon Hub will be available starting February 1. Crunchgear reports that the Verizon Hub will cost $199 after a $50 mail-in-rebate, and that the service will cost $35 per year.



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3vi1 replied on Fri, Jan 23 2009 7:33 PM

Here's my idea:

If I'm within 30ft of my base station, have it ring. I have a nice headset I use there because I'm on conference calls a lot.

If I'm further than 30ft, but within bluetooth range, have the base station use my cell as a bluetooth device.

If I'm out of bluetooth range, but within wifi range, have the router send the call to my cell instead of the base station. Then, if I want, let me walk up to my base station and *automagically* transfer the call by picking up the headset.

If I'm out of wifi range, forward the call to my unlisted cell.

So, you're out and about, getting your calls all day, and as soon as you get close to your home phone you get cheaper service and the ability to use your more convenient devices transparently.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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3vi1 replied on Fri, Jan 23 2009 7:42 PM

And I *don't want this to require going into a webpage and entering a billion fields*. It should be a learning device: There should be one option to activate this on the cell, and then you press a button on the main phone. After the main phone (base) discovers the cell they should transfer enough information that the base syncs bluetooth and can detect the cell on the LAN.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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