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Verizon's iPhone-like Hub 2 hands-on

Joshua Topolsky
April 16, 2009
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We had a chance to sit down and play with Verizon's next iteration of its Hub (already guys?), and while it wasn't a mind-blowing affair, they do seem to making some moves in the right direction. Firstly, the new version is detached from the handset completely -- right now at least -- making it much more of a "fourth screen" internet device, and less of what you'd think of as a standard landline... er, VoIPline. The redesigned unit is considerably more contemporary in industrial design as well, making it look something like a big iPhone -- which is probably what they're hoping for. We were told the screen is still resistive touch, though it seemed a little more responsive than the original unit we toyed around with.

Additionally, Verizon is working on further updating the software, adding new functionality like internet radio, a Webkit browser (which is kind of a no-brainer here), and yes -- an app store (or as they call it, the App Mart). The idea seems to be about moving the Hub more towards a role as another connected device for a kitchen or living room, and less about trying to sell it as a fancy phone, and that's definitely a step in the right direction. Verizon is still tweaking the box and adding features, but what we saw is very promising indeed. Now, if they just throw in some Bluetooth support, a speakerphone option, and lose that dated looking handset altogether (all suggestions we made when we met with them), we might be seeing the start of something magical.

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