We live in an era in which we expect a lot from our electronic devices. We're accustomed to the idea of gadgets that are good at performing multiple tasks. That's why it's not hard to find a camera phone or an MP3 player with a GPS receiver. The days of devices designed for a single task may be at an end.
That might be why Verizon designed the Verizon Hub, a phone system that combines elements of smartphone, tablet computer and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technologies. Descended from an earlier product called the Verizon One, the Hub is a flashy device that includes a cordless handset and a docking station with a 7-inch (17.8-centimeter) touch-screen display.
Owners can use their Hub to access information ranging from weather reports to sports scores to stock quotes. They can also view photos, watch videos and use the interface to purchase things like movie or baseball tickets without having to call the box office. The Hub's features are similar to smartphones like the Apple iPhone, the HTC G1 or the BlackBerry series. But the Hub's larger display and support for a wide variety of file types sets it apart from other devices.
Another thing that sets the Hub apart from smartphones is the fact that it's similar to a traditional landline. Users link the Verizon Hub to their home networks via an Ethernet cable or wireless connection. So, you can't take the Hub with you wherever you go, but the Hub can serve as your home's communication center.
The Verizon Hub is an example of technological convergence -- the trend of combining the features of different devices into a single form factor. Ideally, the end result of convergence is a single device that can perform all of its functions at the same level of quality as a dedicated device. Let's see how the Verizon Hub stacks up.