Verizon Hangs Up On Hub Touchscreen Internet Phone

Verizon on Wednesday confirmed "game over" for the Verizon Hub, the touchscreen VoIP phone it had hoped would give home users second thoughts about cutting their landline thanks to advanced features and Web applications.

First launched on Feb. 1, the Verizon Hub cost $199 to buy and had a recurring fee of $34.99 on top of a home user's Internet service plan. The Hub included a number of features designed to better sync users with Verizon Wireless mobile phone customers, including the ability to track phones on a single family plan.

Verizon marketed the Hub heavily, including in prime time TV commercials. It also in April launched an app store to drive interest to the Hub.

But a number of observers at the time questioned the move, with many saying the price was too high for consumers to reconsider their landlines or pay more over what they were already being charged for landline service.

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The discontinuation of Hub follows suit with other Verizon moves as the telco giant and its rivals shift their focus away from landline products.

Earlier this month, Verizon Communications CEO Ivan Seidenberg told investors at a Goldman Sachs conference that his "thinking has matured" with regard to the loss of voice landlines.

According to The New York Times, Seidenberg added that speculating on how fast voice landlines were going away "is like the dog chasing the bus," but that video would dominate fixed-line sales going forward and that sales of bundled video and landline services were giving way to video and mobile devices, especially as Verizon continues to promote its fiber optic network (Verizon FiOS) as the go-to option for wiring its territories.

Beyond Hub, Verizon hasn't had much luck with home-centric VoIP products this year. In March, it shut down VoiceWing, the low-cost Internet phone service it had debuted in July 2004 to build VoIP presence among home users. In January, Verizon also said it had canceled its contract with DeltaThree, the VoIP service provider that had provided VoiceWing's back-end.