Logitech Launches (Very) Simplified Video Calling

From the wait-they-seriously-didn’t-have-this-already? department comes news that Logitech (s LOGI) is launching simple webcam chat software called Vid.

The webcam hardware provider had until now offered PC-only software that allowed users to email their videos and share them on YouTube (s GOOG). And of course it had been integrated (in some cases through extensive cooperation) with video calling services like Skype (s EBAY). But many people simply didn’t know what to do with Logitech cameras when they take them out of the box, according to Andrew Heymann, the company’s director of retail video product marketing. And so, like Cisco’s (s CSCO) Flip video cameras did earlier this week, Logitech is launching a companion service for its hardware that’s aimed at people who don’t know or care that it’s redundant with other existing offerings.

Vid — which comes out of Logitech’s SightSpeed video-conferencing acquisition — was explicitly built for what Heymman called the “hold-my-hander market.” Of course, that means it’s not so good for those of us who’ve used other video conferencing and chat services, and expect more features. On Vid, users simply see a line-up of a few faces of their closest contacts and click to call them.

But Vid isn’t measuring its success by wide appeal; rather, the service is meant to sell more webcams. Users who don’t have a Logitech webcam — perhaps they’re just using a built-in camera — or don’t know someone who already uses the service (and can thus invite them) can only use it for a 30-day trial before buying a Logitech device of their own. There’s not even an option to pay more to keep using Vid with another webcam.