Mari and I have been following the Verizon Hub, from its pre-release iterations through the product that ultimately shipped in February of this year. And I’m sad to say that Verizon has decided to pull the plug. The Hub was designed to be both an Internet-connected widget station and serve as the household VoIP hub with a bit of PIM functionality thrown in to sweeten the deal. It probably wasn’t the meh resistive touch screen that did it in but, rather and as I predicted, a failure of marketing and pricing. Requiring the Hub to be purchased solely via Verizon Wireless at $200 plus $35/month with a two year contract is pretty steep barrier to entry when introducing a new product category to the mainstream.
I only know one person who picked up the Hub and it was fascinating to observe his initial excitement morph into disgust after experiencing months of issues – some technical, but most related to his account, billing, and phone number. So Verizon’s staff may not have been fully trained in supporting this device. (He ultimately managed to unwind it all and ended up back on Verizon’s typical VoIP service using his own handsets.) While the Hub is no longer being sold and has been scrubbed from Verizon’s web site, a PR rep informed me today that existing customers and contracts will be honored.
I do think there’s room on many of our kitchen counters for this sort of device. So I hope to see Verizon give it another go with a more robust platform and a better marketing/deployment strategy in the not-so-distant future. If not, one could just pick up a net-top.
(Thanks for the tip, Dave M!)