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CNET First Look
Verizon HubThe Verizon Hub is an all-in-one telephone, communications center, and entertainment system, but it isn't cheap.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Nicole: I'm Nicole Lee, Associate Editor for CNET.com and this is a first look at the Verizon Hub from Verizon Wireless. The Verizon Hub is a voice-over IP telephone system that is not just a land-line replacement but it promises to be a communication center for your family as well as your miniature entertainment hub. The 7 inch touch-screen is, as you can see, stunning you can change the wallpaper plus the screen saver and you can use this as a digital photo frame as well. You can customize your home screen with a variety of Widgets, you can get weather Widgets, date and time Widgets as well as a Widget for your visual voice mail so you can customize the home screen however you want. On the side of the home screen are the menu interface shortcut as well as the phone dialer shortcut. If you don't want to use the cordless handset you can actually make calls via the touch-screen. Of course with normal land-line phones you can't send text messages with the Verizon Hub you can, yes there is a built-in text messaging application within the Verizon Hub. The Verizon Hub is really a miniature computer it has a 500MH dual micro probe processor, 128MB of RAM for storage with 2MB just for ring tones. The Verizon Hub has a number of call features include the typical ten digit dialing, call-waiting, caller ID, that way you block your own caller ID number being shown, international call block, a do not disturb function, call-return and something called Simultaneous Ring which lets incoming calls ring up to 3 additional phone numbers. The first phone to pick up will connect the call. This also has visual voicemail as the name suggests you can reply and manage your voice mails directly within a visual interface on the Hub. You can also use this with a couple of Verizon's location-based services, there's Chaperone which lets you locate a family member's cell phone in real-time and Traffic which uses a real-time traffic service to let you know the traffic situation in your neighborhood. There's also a calendar on here so you can create new events and then you can send text reminders to your friends or family members to let you know when the event is. There is a movies application that shows the show times of local theaters as well. The Hub truly becomes a communication center or family bulletin board with a feature called Verizon Relay. All the text, pictures and video messages from your family members will end up on the Relay message board as little yellow Post-it notes, Polaroid pictures of your video thumb nails; this makes it really easy to communicate with your family members, send each other reminders and more. But perhaps the most exciting feature on the Hub and the thing that truly makes this a worthwhile device, I think, is the ability to watch streaming video clips from VCast thus turning your Hub into a mini television. So the amount of contact is pretty amazing there is essentially 4 categories of videos, there's news and sports, entertainment, food and dining and lifestyle. Content providers range from CNN to the Food Network and there are dozens if not hundreds of video clips to choose from. Why is this so exciting, well imagine your Hub in the kitchen or the family center of your home you can watch recipe instructions on video so you can cook right alongside it or if you want to entertain your kids you can select the Cartoon Network Channel or maybe you feel like watching little news clips while waiting for the oven to beep. Not only can you view VCast videos but you have access to Internet radio for streaming audio content. All this and it's still a phone so you won't miss any incoming phone calls or text messages. The Verizon Hub costs around $200.00 after a $50.00 mail-in rebate and a 2 year service agreement. On top of that there's a $35.00 monthly charge for unlimited calls and text. Additional cordless headsets like this cost $80.00 each. The Verizon Hub definitely offers a lot more than the regular land-line but $200.00 with a $35.00 monthly charge is a little bit expensive we think. I'm Nicole Lee; this has been the Verizon Hub from Verizon Wireless. ^M00:04:04 [ Music ]