|That's right, hoard them while you can. Soon those Flip cameras will be artifacts of a |
bygone era in our digital culture. (Photo by Scott Beale/ Laughing Squid,
obtained from the Flickr Creative Commons)
As an outside observer now, it's a trend I've noticed in other media outfits, to varying degrees. Another trend is the adoption of the Flip video camera, though this was happening long before our newsroom was equipped with the snazzy little devices.
Flip cameras have, in a sense, become synonymous with "digital journalism." The difference between them and free online tools is that Flips actually cost money.
The recent news that Cisco is killing the Flip line, without seeking a buyer, is the other side of the coin I examined in that January post. Of course it happens all the time, but sometimes even the paid tools go poof! and disappear.
While I guess it's surprising Cisco isn't looking to sell the Flip line off, maybe it makes sense. I'm all about standalone devices for certain functions (I'm thinking audio player: I'd rather have a dedicated mp3 player strapped to my sweaty arm than bring my phone into the gym), but the target market for Flip cameras is, I think it safe to say, the casual videographer, who is looking for ease of use and the ability to make simple edits.
In other words, journalists (who, like said casual videographer, may be new and unfamiliar with video recording and editing). Even the most-tech savvy of beat reporters needs something she can make a quick-and-dirty video with.
Those people's needs can be met with a smartphone these days. And there's no reason for reporters NOT to be equipped with smartphones these days.
It'll be interesting to see if other product lines that competed with Flip dry up, too, especially as more point-and-shoot digital cameras, and even SLRs, are released with video-recording capabilities.
Do standalone devices (even mp3 players) have any future in our material culture?