Broadband service providers for some odd reason seem to think they have to come up with a killer convergence device for the home — never mind if their customers really want such a device or not. (I know I don’t.) DSLReports today notes that Comcast plans to release a device called HomePoint that will integrate “a wireless home router and the company’s VoIP service, integrating all of their digital voice functionality via up to five handsets. The device is also integrated with Comcast e-mail service, and will allow users to check e-mail, manage Comcast contacts and access visual voicemail.”
And for the privilege of using this device, you’d have to fork out $60 a year. Ha! I’d charge Comcast just to display it in my house; HomePoint is about as attractive as a Soviet-era office block. I remember hearing about similar gadgets when VoIP was the new new thing. If my memory serves me correctly, it was SunRocket that led the charge and wanted to sell a converged device. Cisco has tried to push convergence features in its IP phones.
Fast-forward to the present, and Comcast isn’t the only one to try its hand at a digital home hub/convergence device. AT&T has Home Manager and Verizon launched Verizon Hub (it’s since stopped selling the Hub, however). My advice to Comcast and other ISPs? Develop an app that does what HomePoint does, but for the iPhone and Android-based devices. There’s a good chance you’ll actually find someone who wants to use them.