While there's nothing all that unique about it, Comcast
seems to be hoping that its just-announced SmartZone communications center will be enough to keep some of its customers from jumping ship. It'll let the company's 12 million high-speed Internet subscribers and 3 million digital phone subscribers access both their email and voicemail from a central website, and let 'em "experience" so-called visual voice mail, which includes things like a viewable call history and the ability forward voicemails as an email. Put together with the help of HP, Plaxo, and Zimbra, the service will also give you a centralized address book, instant messaging, and customizable news, weather, and other information. According to Reuters, Comcast is also hoping to integrate SmartZone with its TV service and Pivot cellphone service, which would certainly make it a tad more interesting. In the meantime, you can look for the standard web-based service to roll out "later this year," with it set to be available at no added cost to subscribers.