I was surprised to jump to Amazon.com just now and find the Ooma box as the top featured item. I’ve been using Ooma as my “land” line for about a year-and-a-half as a Beta tester and have been awaiting reports of improved sales of the VOIP boxes since they recently started promoting it for about half of the original $399 sticker price. I found it a bit ironic that it was featured alongside Amazon’s Kindle — which is so overhyped on the site and perpetually claimed to be “out of stock” ala recent Nintendo Wii marketing ploys.
When I first learned of Ooma, the idea of having a box at home through which to make phone calls (for free) and having access to messages online and via e-mail was intriguing. I do not have a personal land line and was tired of paying for Skype. I was using GrandCentral but wanted an alternative since cell reception at my house is so spotty. I was lucky to meet Andrew Frame, founder of Ooma, for a tour of Ooma’s HQ in Palo Alto in the summer of 2007, when I was an intern at the San Jose Mercury News (video below).
When I returned to Los Angeles, I signed up as a beta tester and was impressed with the quality, and loved having a phone number that I could remember (909-0090 nearly trumped the AT&T land line number I had when I first moved to LA — 669-9969). I’d recommend it to anyone who uses VOiP and incurs charges above and beyond ooma’s one-time-only charge for their Core system — now $219.90 at Amazon. If it means anything to you, Ooma still has the endorsement of the almighty Michael Arrington as well.
So is Ooma about to take off into the mainstream?
Or is it nearing its last gasp?