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Simple Or Versatile? Flip Demise Indicates Answer Is Now Both

April 27th, 2011 by Seth Kenvin

A Blog Post Too Late To Pioneer Our Own Clever Pun

Since we work in video technologies and publish a blog, it is obligatory that we post on Cisco’s closure this month of the Flip video camera line obtained through its 2009 Pure Digital acquisition, that was followed immediately by an ubiquitous celebrity-driven ad campaign. And now, the product is gone. And we’ve got some thoughts. But since it’s taken us a couple weeks to express those thoughts we can’t pioneer such clever blog puns as “Flipping switch on acquisition”, ”Cisco flipflops” nor  ”R.I.P. F.L.I.P.” — others have beaten us to all of those.

Around the time of the Pure Digital acquisition a lot of credit was directed towards the company for achieving the Flip’s popularity by taking quality equipment, an HD video camera, and refining to an enormously simple experience driven primarily by pushing a dominant centralized red button, on a compact & rugged device, that connects to computer with a buildt-in, flip-out USB dongle.

In video production there’s an oft-cited axiom: “good, fast or cheap — pick two”.  Pure Digital made a similar determination in its positioning by putting together good quality HD with easy use, at expense of providing a versatile device. And that initially worked as people frequently reserved a pocket for constant availability of capturing HD content, offsetting everything else (email, web, music, personal information management, games & more, even photography) being on smart phone on opposite pocket. But all those other things coming together elegantly seem to present Cisco the conundrum for Flip’s future. With increasingly good video capture & management on phones (better resolution, longer footage, immediate ability to sync & upload content wirelessly), just a couple years later consumers now seem to be able to “pick three” among quality, ease and versatility when recording video on smart phones.

The last few years have been breathtaking in the pace of technology impacting life, with Flip / Pure Digital a great case study. A “revolutionary” (per Wired magazine) leader in distilling multi-button handheld cameras to just a few prominent aspects on an even smaller device, seems to get truped within just a few quarters by what may have initially seemed an entirely different category of product.

We can relate to such challenges in building our own business. Market7 brings together applications for the content collaboration involved in pre-production, the content collaboration of post-production, and the project management throughout, believing that media production professionals don’t just want easy and good solutions for each of these in isolation — today’s technology user demands ease and quality for all of their needs integrated together in singular options, whether such considerations relate to handheld devices or collaborative workflows.

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