What is a flip camera?

A ‘Flip’ camera is the brand name of a pocket size camcorder that was introduced by a company called Pure Digital Technologies in 2007. The flip video camera became popular not only as a tool for YouTube videos, but with everyday folks who wanted a tiny camcorder that was easy to throw into their backpacks or purses. In fact, the camcorder was so popular that the words Flip Cam are still used to refer to any of a variety of handheld video cameras  – especially with those that have a vertical orientation. Flip a video is still occasionally used to refer to shooting video on a handheld cam. Unfortunately, the actual Flip Camera was discontinued in April 2011. More on that below.The Flip Camera's Innovative Design

In 2009 Cisco bought the Flip brand from Pure Digital for nearly $600 mil. Soon after, other models were released such as the Flip Video Mino and the Flip MinoHD. However, after just two years Cisco decided to discontinue the line because of competition from cellular telephones with built in cameras.

This seems short sighted on the part of Cisco. The Flip is/was one of the strongest camcorder releases ever launched and an extremely strong seller on Amazon.com. Nevertheless, as of this writing it is still possible to purchase new Flips as you can see by the numerous models available such as the MinoHD sold at Amazon.com.

But don’t buy a discontinued Flip just for its name (unless you think it might become a collector’s item – anything is possible). Mining for future Ebay riches aside, there are plenty of cameras that are simliar to the Flip, not to mention better. For example:

  • The Kodak Zi8 has been a strong seller. It is a 1080p HD camcorder (with higher resolution than the MinoHD which is only 720p) and has an external microphone jack on top of that.
  • The Sony Bloggie MHS-PM5 has been a strong seller and even comes in a 3D version. It is a well made camera with a nice touch screen display.
  • Toshiba makes the Camileo which shoots in 1080p. The BW10 model includes a waterproof case good up to six and a half feet. No chance it will make it for a scuba dive, but you can have fun shooting some summer splash videos at the pool or on the beach.
So what is a Flip Camera? To put it bluntly, a flipping huge opportunity lost for Cisco. Luckily there are plenty of other video cameras out there to fill the gap.


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