Good-Bye, Flip

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Today it was announced by Cisco that they are discontinuing the manufacturing and marketing of the popular Flip camera. (Here’s the story as reported by Mashable this morning.)

I own a fairly new Flip camera and, as a self-proclaimed video hack, I enjoyed the ease of travel and the quality of the video on the Flip camera. I did find the editing software a little weak and archaic, but it easily integrated with iMovie, so semi-professional editing could be applied to the video.

But, still, I can see why Cisco made its decision.

Vital Flaw: Sharing

About a month ago, I became aware of a vital flaw in the Flip camera. At an event where I was responsible for live-streaming video, I learned the hard way that I was not able to live stream from the tiny camera… even when plugged into the computer using an adapter so it could stand upright on the tri-pod. I loved the tiny camera, but from then on I was forced to look elsewhere for my streaming needs. Also, the camera lacked immediacy and sharability. Since the camera doesn’t have a WiFi or 3G component, it was impossible to post videos on social media sites, send to friends via MMS or post them on YouTube unless I was right next to the computer. Those problems are easily solved by most smart phones these days.

The Smart Phone Kills It.

After learning that the Flip didn’t play well and share with others, I was forced to dive into the filming and video sharing capabilities of my iPhone 4. With a free app on UStream, I was able to live stream video, record video and share the video on social media straight through the phone. The HD video quality was also perfectly acceptable for my “film hack” needs. There was only one problem with the iPhone live-streaming capabilities: after about 35 minutes, my phone gave me the scary warning that it was too hot and needed to be turned off. Granted, 35 minutes is a long time to stream live video, but I am sure that this will improve with upgrades.

Despite it all, though, I am definitely sad to see the little guy go. The Flip has been so popular for amateurs like myself. But, as everything goes social, the lack of shareability with the device was its fatal flaw. Our phones are now becoming the singular device for our multiple needs; besides gaming, social media, email and phone calls (who knew?), our phones are now playing the part of a completely sharable video camera.

Photo by Cindy Shebley/

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