Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Amazing Internet-Streaming Flip Camera That Wasn't

Clearly, David Pogue's a disappointed fan of the now-defunct Flip video camera, as am I. In his column this week, he revealed some inside information that makes the shutdown of Flip even more disappointing: apparently, the company was preparing to launch FlipLive, a new camera that would allow you to share video over the internet in real time:
Think how amazing that would be. The world could tune in, live, to join you in watching concerts. Shuttle launches. The plane in the Hudson. College lectures. Apple keynote speeches. 
Or your relatives could join you for smaller, more personal events: weddings, birthday parties,  graduations, first steps.
Imagine how cool that would have been. Certainly, it would have kept me in Flip for a while. This is something an iPhone 4 just can't do

The other interesting thing about Pogue's article is his speculation on why Cisco, which bought Flip from Pure Digital in 2009, had no intention of keeping the product on the market: 
The most plausible reason is that Cisco wants the technology in the Flip more than it wants the business. Cisco is, after all, in the videoconferencing business, and the Flip’s video quality— for its size and price—was amazing. Maybe, in fact, that was Cisco’s plan all along. Buy the beloved Flip for its technology, then shut it down and fire 550 people.