Verizon is creating an application store for its Hub home phone service as part of plans to broaden its market.

The move follows the trend among mobile makers such as Apple, RIM and Palm to open up to third-party apps.

It comes less than three months after the launch of the product – which offers connectivity through any broadband connection and provides unlimited VoIP calling for USD $35 per month.

Prototype Screen for Verizon’s Hub

A further development to widen the appeal of the Hub will see Verizon removing the condition that Hub buyers have to be Verizon Wireless customers.

The application store will launch later this year, although no specific date has been given.

Initially targeted at families looking to use a phone and access limited Internet services on their kitchen counter, the Hub attempts to close the gap between wireless and wireline services.

Verizon sees the applications market attracting new types of customers with an array of software suited to their own interests, such as Internet radio.

A prototype of a smaller, sleeker Hub product – similar in looks to a digital picture frame – has been developed. It comes with a much skinnier cordless phone handset.

The company is also working on multi-touch controls for future devices, another trend popularized by Apple’s iPhone.

All these developments are moving the Hub in the right direction.

Whether consumers will be convinced enough to pay USD $199 for the Hub and $34.99 a month in service fees is another matter.

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