updated 12:00 pm EDT, Thu April 16, 2009
Verizon Hub app store
The Internet-connected Verizon Hub home phone may soon get its own applications store, according to a Wednesday report. The phone, launched in the US on February 1st, already gets updates through the Internet for weather and traffic information, and users can watch videos via Verizon's V CAST service, but is now set to open to third-party software that would enable new tasks using the Internet, GPS or both. One new use for it would be to give users the ability to access Internet radio stations, for example.
At the same time, Verizon is looking into making the Hub available to all customers and not just Verizon Wireless subscribers. This would also open up the market for the proposed application store.
"We're in the process of getting rid of that restriction," said Verizon product manager John Gravel.
No specific dates for the launch of the yet unnamed applications marketplace were mentioned, though it should come online sometime in 2009, Gravel said. A prototype version of a smaller second-generation Hub that resembles a digital photo frame and includes a skinnier handset was also shown off, and Verizon is apparently working on a multi-touch interface for future devices.
The Hub costs $199 to purchase after a mail-in rebate and on a two-year contract, with a near $35 monthly service fee.
The idea of an app store is gaining momentum lately, with BlackBerry App World launching earlier this month, South Korea's SK Telecom considering one and the originator, Apple's App Store generating significant income by itself.