Flip digital video cameras get personal

October 14, 2008

You’ve seen Dell and Sony’s sexier laptops, you may have even seen Fujitsu’s recent announcement that its Lifebook A1110 series comes with a detachable lid that can swapped for all sorts of cool designs and colors. And, of course, you’ve watched as Apple jazzed up the colors on its iPods. It’s a trend we’ve heralded at Forrester as The Age of Style in consumer PCs and electronics (see my colleague JP Gownder’s excellent report on this topic). 

Today, Pure Digital, maker of the immensely popular Flip digital video cameras, announced that it’s about to put everyone else’s attempts at personalized style to shame with its completely customizable Flip Mino cameras. Check out the home page at theflip.com to see it for yourself. 


Choose one of three cool ways to get your own design. Or, I guess you can do black or white.

Choose one of three cool ways to personalize your camera. Or, I guess you can do black or white, but why?

I’m already big on these cameras. They’re unlocking a whole new kind of home video: gone are the 45-minutes of soccer game footage, in are 30-second slices of life captured and easily uploaded via the camera’s built-in USB jack. Evidently consumers agree with me, buying more than a million Flip cameras in just over a year. These cameras can be personalized in three equally cool ways: you can put a picture on it, choose from hundreds of pre-loaded designs, or use a strangely compelling pattern generator to craft a pattern suited to your tastes.

I tried all three options. The tools are super easy and I can’t imagine why anyone would buy a Flip Mino unpersonalized in the future. There are some hot designs pre-loaded, and the pattern designer, while mesmerizing, failed to compete with the option to use my own image. Appropriate to the season, I uploaded a photo to create a Flip Mino masterpiece I call, “Sunset on the Monster.” See the picture below to know what I’m talking about. If you can’t tell, shame on you, Yankee’s fan.

The personalized designs don’t cost extra. As Simon Fleming-Wood, VP of Marketing for Pure Digital (see interview with Simon about the economy) explained it to me, they think the value of the camera is that it lets you capture memories and express yourself. Charging extra to go one step further with self-expression just didn’t seem right. And it doesn’t. This is a rockin’ idea and I’m impressed they’re going to do it — only through their direct channel, of course, where I assume they have room to play with the margins a bit. 

Reminds me of the old days in the Internet Economy when we talked about Mass Customization. Never happened, did it? This gets as close as I’ve seen. 

"Sunset on the Monster" by James McQuivey

PS, let’s go, Red Sox.

Dow down 18% in one week — what does this mean for video?

October 10, 2008

I’m busy working on a piece for Forrester about what a down economy does for video. I’ll be finished next week and can share more then, but in the process of speaking to people in the industry, I came across a bright spot, at least as Simon Fleming-Wood, VP of Marketing for Pure Digital, the maker of the phenomenal rags-to-riches Flip digital video cameras. In a recent conversation, I broached the topic of a down economy and mentioned that while many were optimisitc about the future of free services like online video (for obvious reasons), some are nervous about the prospects for devices this holiday buying season. But Simon isn’t seeing it:

We are cautiously optimistic.  Our retail partners have increased their forecasts for sales of our products over the last 3 weeks. The President of the United States went on television in an unprecedent event to tell the nation that we were in an economic crisis. Yet our sales went up that week.

Bully for Pure Digital. It helps that the Flip cameras are positioned as low-cost digital video cameras, of course. I don’t imagine Sony and Canon are as sanguine about their prospects this quarter. But it goes to show that even in a down economy, the right product targeted at the right market with the right features can succeed.

What do you think? Are you afraid for any particular products or services? Will premium cable channels suffer? Will that 2nd DVR get postponed to next year? Will Hulu.com take over the world with its free content?

Tell me what you think will happen or what you are doing personally. For example, I’m cutting back on premium movie channels (that I don’t watch enough anyway). What about you?