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How Smartphones And Social Media Trends Killed The Flip Camera

April 18, 2011

If you follow blogging-related news closely, you probably heard last week that Cisco is killing off the Flip brand of digital video cameras that it bought from Pure Digital Technologies for over half a billion dollars in 2009. This is particularly relevant to bloggers due to the fact that these cameras were one of the most popular and frequently recommended brands to those just getting into video blogging with their low price point and ease of use for a camera capable of producing HD video. In fact, I recommended them not too long ago in a blog post about the power of video in social branding.

Cisco is choosing to kill the brand as part of a company-wide reorganization intended to steer their focus back to their “key priorities” – namely enterprise customers in the network hardware space. Prodded by a drop in second quarter earnings by 18 percent, Cisco CEO John Chambers made the announcement last Tuesday.

The announcement has certainly come as a shock to some. The cameras have still been selling at decent rates, but not well enough to claim near as strong a market share as Flip saw in 2009 when the company was purchased. It appears that a combination of competition from increasingly capable smartphones and a lack in innovation from Flip has sealed the brand’s fate.

This can be looked at as a testament to the power of social media in a way. In a world where individuals now want to capture HD digital video on a pocket-sized device and instantly upload it to sites such as Youtube or Facebook while on-the-go, the iPhones and droid-powered mobile devices of today grant this ability while the Flip falls short. As the phone makers improved the quality of video that they can capture, the Flip cameras improved video quality little and never developed the ability to connect to the internet wirelessly via wifi or 3G – instead needing to be manually connected to a computer in order to upload video. And so the mighty smartphones have, over time, made the pocket-sized video cameras redundant.

If you already have a  Flip camera and it meets your video blogging needs, great – stick with it. The demise of the brand doesn’t mean that you are now behind the times. The beauty of video blogging is that it’s such a simple format to produce content with. If you are able to churn out HD videos and upload them without issue, that is the important part and the viewer will never know or care how you captured the video. The tools will continue to evolve, but content is the area that most of us will need to keep working on and devoting our attention to.

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