updated 12:20 pm EST, Fri January 23, 2009
Verizon today gave word of a device it hopes will rework the concept of home phones. Nicknamed just the Hub, the device is meant to sit in place with a cordless handset like a landline phone but to act as a conduit for one or more cellphones; a built-in Ethernet connection gets updates such as calendars and GPS directions and funnels them to family handsets on the Verizon network. It centers around a large touchscreen that itself serves to check calendars, maps videos, the phone book and visual voicemail. Events or other information created on the Hub can be passed on to individual phones.
The carrier vows customized V CAST music and video content specific to the Hub and notes that the display serves as a digital photo frame when the phone is idle.
Verizon expects to launch the Hub on February 1st but is unusually cautious and hasn't mentioned either the cost of the device itself or any particular service plans. The company nonetheless makes it clear that the Hub doesn't require one of its own Internet services and should work with any broadband Internet access.