Goodbye, Flip!

A number of tech blogs have reported the immediate closing of the Flip brand by Cisco. Flip cameras were inexpensive, small, light, simple to use video recorders that came in a number of storage sizes and video resolutions. They were also handy as they simply plugged into your USB port for charging and downloading. It was perhaps the first and only truly easy-to-use video camera I’ve ever seen. My wife and I bought one in 1997 to replace a JVC mini-DV camera that had broken (less than a year after the purchase), and we brought the Flip with us on a trip to Spain, France, and Italy. The Flip didn’t have a ton of memory, but I’m the person that tends to only shoot a few minutes of video at a time–so that was never a problem.

I believe that I read that Cisco bought Flip in 2009–probably not a great move. At the time, most digital cameras were incorporating video recording (now a standard feature), and as Daring Fireball’s John Gruber points out, the iPhone 3GS (with a camera) was released a month after the Cisco purchase.

That’s the story for me…the iPhone 3GS and then the iPhone 4 became the go-to video device for me (and thus, my family). I’ve used the Flip once since 2009, to record a Karate black belt graduation in January 2010 when I wanted to take pictures with my phone and record video.

Our school bought a mess of Flip cameras in the summer of 2009 and again in 2010. They were (are) great for English classes that need to record speeches, for the speech team, for Spanish classes (they like to make videos) and for video production classes. As of today, I’d suggest the purchase of iPod Touches (4th Generation) or the iPad 2. Still, getting video off an iPod/iPad isn’t as easy as it was on a Flip, even though the possibilities for editing video on either Apple device probably makes the “more difficult” way of sharing a video worth the time and effort.

[The winning combination is probably iPads for video editing with iPod Touches for shooting the video, and then linking using the camera adapter kit].

Flip…you were a great product for a while, and you’ll be missed for your simplicity. Many devices can take video as well as you could, but none with the ease of use you offered.


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