Ooma's arrested product development

Valleywag has already noted the curious resemblance of Andrew Frame, the founder of VOIP startup Ooma, to "Arrested Development" character George Oscar Bluth II, a failed magician. But that's not the only curious resemblance we've spotted, now that Ooma's launched its long-delayed product. It turns out that Ooma's Hub, a $399 pice of hardware for making cheap Internet calls, competes with a $99 product that does the same thing and is already on the market.

The Ooma Hub looks slicker than the PhoneGnome Box, which retails for $99. And of course, PhoneGnome doesn't have a Hollywood star hawking its device, while Ooma does in the form of "creative director" (read: overpaid spokesman) Ashton Kutcher. Despite the surface difference, Ooma's feature list — 911 calls through regular phone lines, free calls to "members" — is so similar to PhoneGnome's that we can't help wondering if Ooma founder Andrew Frame, desperate to launch his long-delayed startup, didn't just crib Ooma's product plan from PhoneGnome. And jack up the price fourfold. Because everything costs more in Hollywood, of course.