Verizon Wireless stores yesterday began featuring the Verizon Hub, a VoIP product that requires a Verizon Wireless subscription.
Today, Verizon announced a slew of partners for the Hub: OpenPeak, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, ON Networks, uReach, HealthiNation, Fandango, Navteq and Time Inc.
The Hub includes a touch screen with icons so adults and kids can get on-demand access to whatever they want while they’re, say, in the kitchen. The Hub runs on any broadband connection, whether it be Verizon FiOS Internet, DSL or any other high-speed provider.
Some use cases for the hub that Verizon suggests include managing the family calendar and sending reminder texts to family members’ mobile phones; looking up a business address and sending a message to family members who use VZ Navigator for turn-by-turn directions; and catching up on news with V CAST videos.
Verizon says the Hub is the first VoIP phone designed from the ground up to be integrated with Verizon Wireless services such as messaging, Chaperone and VZ Navigator.
To use the Hub, customers need Verizon Wireless service and a Verizon Digital Voice plan, which costs $34.99 a month. The Hub costs $199.99 after a $50 rebate with a two-year contract.
Bloggers and others pointed out the confusing nature of the product. “So how is this different from what Verizon or Verizon Wireless already offers?,” asked industry analyst Jeff Kagan, who has not yet tested it. “I am not fully sure of what this device does and how it is different from other services Verizon offers, like FiOS. It can be hard to wrap your arms around this and understand exactly what it is and what it does.”