Verizon is readying a new product that will marry its wireless phone service with an Internet home phone that uses a broadband network to make calls.
The new phone system, called Verizon Hub, connects to any broadband line to provide home phone service using the Internet. It integrates with Verizon Wireless service so that customers can send and receive SMS text messages directly from their home phone and use location-based services, like Chaperone and VZ Navigator. It also provides additional Web-based services, such as an online calendar and a contact list that syncs with Microsoft Outlook.
The service is designed to give families or multiple people living in a household an alternative to the traditional copper based phone system.
The Hub will go on sale at Verizon retail stores February 1. It costs $199 after a $50 rebate. Customers must sign up for a two-year contract with a monthly charge of $34.99. The monthly service charge includes unlimited local and long distance calling in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. The service is only offered to Verizon Wireless customers, and the integrated cell phone service only works with Verizon Wireless phones. The Verizon Hub is considered to be a part of Verizon Wireless in-calling plans, so Verizon Wireless subscribers can send unlimited text messages to the Hub and calls made to the Hub phone aren't counted as part of their anytime minute usage.
The product itself consists of a cordless handset that sits in a docking station that has a 7-inch touch-screen display. From this touch screen, users can access several Internet widgets for news, sports, and traffic information. It's also where users can manage their calendars and send and receive text messages from Verizon Wireless phones.
The service is integrated with Verizon's location services. For example, users can look up nearby movie theaters, purchase tickets, and get directions right from the Hub. These directions can then be forwarded directly to a Verizon Wireless phone via an SMS message.… Read more