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Death of Flip Video
Earlier this week Cisco announced that they are killing the Flip video brand and laying off 550 of its employees. When I heard the news I was actually not surprised because of their performance in past two years. Regardless of their performance, Flip was actually doing great in terms of sales. Why would Cisco shutdown one of their most successful branches? Flip cameras dominated the handheld camcorder market and and are best sellers at Amazon and other electronics retailers. In fact Flip video was planning on releasing new products that will never see the light of the day due to the sudden shutdown.
I read somewhere that smartphones contributed to the death of flip video. Could it be? If that was the case why didn't the company step up their game and introduce better dedicated camcorders? All the sales statistics aside, the specs on these flip camcorders were laughable. I've used smartphones with better equipped cameras. Personally I have owned a Flip and a Kodak Playsport and the video quality can be bested by my smartphone.
So lets see what a typical flip camera was like:
- thick body - check
- no 1080p recording - check
- no expandable storage - check
- low quality stills - check
- bad image stabilization - check
- small screen - check
- No rugged/ waterproof features - check
As you can see Flip cameras did not offer anything that would make them standout. I was actually looking forward to flip's future products hoping maybe, just maybe they will introduce a camera that could meet my requirements.
After testing some more handheld camcorders I realized that these dedicated devices actually aren't that great at their job which is to shoot good quality video. Also Flip video had horrible release cycles for its cameras and even though they had a good start back in 2009, they couldn't innovate and revolutionize the handheld camcorder.
What ever Cisco's reason was, flip video did not need to die. It just needed a jump start. Hopefully this is a wake-up call to other handheld camcorder manufacturers.