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Verizon VoIP phone doubles as DPF

Jan 23, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 145 views

Verizon Wireless announced a VoIP touchscreen phone that incorporates a digital picture frame (DPF) capability and can send navigation instructions to Verizon mobile phones. According to one report, the Verizon Hub (pictured) is based on OpenPeak's OpenFrame phone, which is said to run Linux.

(Click for larger view of the Verizon Hub )

According to Verizon Wireless, more information on the Verizon Hub will be available when it ships on February 2. Meanwhile, the wireless provider, which is a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone, has provided a feature overview, but few technical details on the device itself. According to a PC Magazine story, however, the Verizon Hub is based on the OpenPeak OpenFrame phone (pictured below), and runs Linux (see more below).

OpenPeak's OpenFrame

The Verizon Hub works over any broadband connection, says Verizon Wireless, including Verizon FiOS, Verizon DSL services, “or any other high-speed service provider.” The phone is designed as both a phone and a kitchen computer that offers contacts and calendars, as well as access to the web.

Verizon Hub features are said to include:

  • VoIP phone service
  • Widget/icon interface
  • Calendar alerts sent by text message
  • Text, picture, and video messaging with wireless phones
  • Ability to deliver VZ Navigator audible turn-by-turn directions to Verizon Wireless phones
  • Local traffic, weather, and directory information
  • V CAST video content, including movie trailers and ticket purchasing
  • Remote access to Verizon Hub via a companion website, including adding calendar entries and inputting contacts
  • Chaperone application for tracking children's cellphones
  • DPF photo mode when not in use

According to the PC Magazine story, the OpenFrame runs on dual Freescale i.MX31 (ARM11) processors. However, the OpenPeak site says that the OpenFrame incorporates an Intel Atom.

OpenFrame 2.0

According to the PC Magazine story, both the Verizon Hub and the OpenFrame device are equipped with an 8-inch, 800×480 touchscreen, and incorporate a detachable DECT 6.0 cordless phone. The OpenPeak site, meanwhile, lists both an OpenFrame, as well as an OpenFrame 2.0 (pictured above), which is also based on an Intel Atom, and which offers an integrated cordless phone and larger speaker. Neither looks precisely like the Verizon Hub, which offers additional front-facing volume and menu buttons in addition to the touchscreen interface.

The OpenFrame and OpenFrame 2.0 both offer WiFi and Ethernet links, according to OpenPeak. The devices are said to be capable of displaying photos, and playing music and full-motion video.

The feature set offered for the OpenFrame models seem to largely match the Verizon Hub, except for the latter's Verizon-only navigation, video, and monitoring software. Features are said to include calendar, e-mail, text messaging, synced address book, and directory services. Access is also said to be provided for news, sports, weather, stock quotes, and traffic, as well as the ability to make traditional or VoIP phone calls from either the touchscreen or the handset.

OpenPeak does not appear to mention Linux on its site, but according to the PC Magazine story, the OpenFrame uses a custom operating system based on a hacked Linux kernel. The story adds that “all of the software above the kernel is closed and proprietary.” OpenPeak will offer an API for developing third-party applications, says the story, but only to carriers.

OpenTablet (left) and ProFrame
(Click on either to enlarge)

OpenPeak also sells a similar OpenTablet version of the phone, and it recently announced a corporate version called the ProFrame. Both devices also incorporate Intel Atom processors (see images above).

Stated Mike Lanman, VP and CMO at Verizon Wireless, “The Verizon Hub reinvents the home phone system that's been centered on your kitchen counter for years.”


The Verizon Hub will be available on February 2, at which time more information, including pricing and service plans, will also be available, says Verizon Wireless. The PC Magazine story on the Verizon Hub and OpenFrame, should be here, and the OpenPeak site should be here.

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