There was a time where just about every YouTube fanatic was buying a Flip video camera, but as cameras show up in more and more devices, and even those in cell phones begin hitting HD quality, you have to wonder if this once essential piece of video equipment has any place left in the world.
The Flip had a great run for a few years, and it even garnered enough attention to see the company bought out by Cisco Systems in March of 2009 for $590 million. You do have to wonder if the brand have enough life left in it to make that investment back?
With the announcement on June 7th that the iPhone 4 was capable of shooting 720P HD video at 30 frames per second (FPS), the same specs as the Flip SlideHD, many pundits immediately wondered what this meant for the company. Consumers are getting to a point where they want their gadgets to be as converged as possible because it means less clutter in their life, less items to recharge and fewer cables to carry with them. Going through airport security for a tech enthusiast is already painful enough, so removing another item thrills us.
At a price of $269 from some dealers for the Flip SlideHD, the latest incarnation of the Flip HD line, why is your casual enthusiast going to bother with these any more? With an iPhone 4 you can get supposedly the same quality, and even get iMovie as an extra app to edit right on the phone, so you have to ponder if it is worth carrying this item for on the fly video at this point. No one is using the Flip for serious video production, if you want that, you get a nice camera, but the Flip has served a purpose for on the fly video at parties, documenting family events and so on. So if your phone does all the same things, you’ll plunk down more of your hard earned money for what reason?
Personally I never understood the niche the Flip filled in the first place. For on-the-fly video I had my phone, and for anything of higher quality I have a nice Sanyo video camera, and that always made me feel that cameras like the Flip and its competitors were kind of superfluous.
With the iPhone 4 hitting 720P, you know other phones will follow suit, and personally, all I can see is that spelling doom for this particular camera category. Sorry, Flip, you had a good run.
What say you? Are Flip cameras dead?