Cisco just announced the death of Pure Digital’s Flip Camera product line to refocus their efforts on other consumer markets. Christina Warren over at Mashable provided an insightful analysis as to why the death knell was heard on this maker of future Speilbergs and Bays. Her point was that the Flip was the stop-gap until smartphones caught up with the casual video market, much the way that Steve Jobs created the iPhone while waiting for the iPad to be feasible.
This is a pattern we’ve seen over and over in the consumer electronics market, we fall in love with new devices and experiences eerily reminiscent of the summer loves of Grease. We have deeply passionate relationships with our smartphones, laptops, mp3 plays, especially our Tamogotchi’s, and then some new young thing struts by with a multi-touch dashboard, 4G rims, dual overhead cores, and we’re in love all over again.
Here’s an example from the dark ages of smartphones, when Palm was still Palm (in fact they had just become Palm again two years prior after buying Handspring) and the iPhone was just a presentation that scooped all of CES in January 2007.
This is real data from real users baring their souls about the lost love of the Treo750 in the face of the arrival of the iPhone. As the iPhone got into peoples hands, the smartphone user experience was radically redefined.
This is what happened to the Flip, new capabilities came out that changed our expectations about what device we wanted to use to capture video. When Apple booted the video camera off the iPod nano in favor of the multi-touch stamp form factor, that signaled end of a stand-alone camcorder market of any significant size.
That being said, just like summer love, there will be significant nostalgia for the Flip. I know for capturing my daughters in action, the Flip is a lot more convenient than my iPhone 3Gs or Nexus S, that is if I remember to bring it with me. Similar to remembering those product loves from past summers, it’s great to do but who has time?