Verizon (s vz) is today enhancing online management functions to give feature phone owners a single portal for checking email, managing account information and remotely programming a FiOS DVR from a mobile phone. Found at http://www.myverizon.net, the portal doesn’t require use of a smartphone, nor a handset on the Verizon Wireless network. While the online tools replicate many aspects of currently available apps from Verizon for Android (s goog) and iOS (s aapl) devices, the website brings advanced account access and functionality to feature phones for which there is currently no comparable application support.
To be sure, smartphones that access the My Verizon site will have a greater range of features than standard handsets will. In the press release announcing the new site, Verizon says that smartphone owners using Android devices gain the ability to check voicemail and call logs, for example. Smartphone users can also order pay-per-view titles online for later viewing on a home television connected to Verizon’s FiOS service. But not everyone has a smartphone: Verizon knows that it won’t be until the end of next year before half of all U.S. consumers use an advanced handset.
By taking application events to the mobile web, Verizon is making feature phones “smarter” while at the same time showing feature phone owners that smartphones offer advanced functionality: a point that could help drive upgrades and new sales in Verizon Wireless stores. Until such time, however, Verizon’s move towards bringing app functionality to the web give additional life, and a potentially better customer experience, to the good old feature-phone.
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