Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Video: BoomTown Gets a Taste of Umi and Chomps into Cisco Execs Too!

Yesterday, BoomTown dragged my weary bag of bones to downtown San Francisco for the unboxing of a new consumer telepresence product from Cisco called Umi.

The networking giant is making yet another big foray into the competitive space for, well, space in the living room with the device, which will cost $599 with a $24.99 monthly fee.

The Cisco (CSCO) brand name Umi is a variation on “you-me.”

The Umi unit works with your existing high-definition television and high-speed broadband. It’s in three parts: A camera, a remote control and a set-top box. It will work with Google (GOOG) Voice Chat–but not Skype and Apple (AAPL) iChat yet.

Here’s a video I did–using Cisco’s Flip video camera, natch!–to capture the proceedings at the launch event and demo, as well as to interview Umi head honcho Gina Clark about the effort, competition and more:

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus