The biggest buzz in camcorders over the last year and a half hasn’t been from any of the big manufacturers — Sony, Panasonic, JVC or Canon, et. al. Instead, it’s a little product from a little company called Flip Video. A tiny pocket camcorder that offers simplicity and style over power and performance, Flip Video cameras — the Mino, Ultra, and Original — have been hugely popular with the younger, so-called “YouTube” set. About a year or so ago, one of our Born Digital predecessors wrote a story about the Flip Ultra and found it to be “perfect for online video sharing,” noting she had captured a short video with the Ultra and uploaded it to YouTube in a matter of minutes. Soon after, Flip Video camcorders were everywhere, it seemed. (Even my mom was asking about them.)
With so much attention going to such a small product, it was only a matter of time before the big boys would want a piece of the burgeoning pocket video camera market. The first major company to weigh in with a potential Flip Video challenger was somewhat unexpected though. Instead of Sony, Panasonic, JVC etc., venerable point-and-shoot camera manufacturer Kodak announced this summer that it would introduce the Zi6 pocket video camera ($179) in early Fall. Though the Zi6 seems to be part of an overall strategy by Kodak to prove that it’s no longer a stodgy, old film-based company but an energetic, multi-media, digital imaging company, the message to Flip Video was clear. Watch your ass, buster. Big Yellow is coming after you.