Often times with new technologies companies take a “pile on” approach, adding on more features and controls until people don’t even remember the invention’s original purpose. Occasionally, in this world of buttons, touchscreens and dropdown menus, using a simple, straightforward device can be a breath of fresh air. Enter the Flip Video Ultra from Pure Digital Technologies, an invention that has found success by keeping things simple.
The Flip Ultra debuted this past fall and has been the best-selling camcorder on Amazon.com ever since. The device is the size of a digital camera, but is held vertically rather than horizontally. It is available in five different colors: black, white, orange, pink and green. Beyond that, there’s nothing too complicated about the Flip. It has a lens for shooting, a microphone for recording sound and a 1.5-inch screen for viewing. A person turns the camera “on” and presses a red button to start or stop recording. A play button allows a filmmaker to review a clip and a trash button allows for deletion.
There’s no changing modes or elaborate effects available on the Flip. A person directs the camera toward the action and shoots video. The Flip runs on a pair of AA batteries, so there are also no cords or chargers - along with no tapes or memory cards. When a person slides a button on the side of the Flip, a USB jack pops out so the camera itself actually plugs directly into a computer. From a computer, the camera gives users access to a basic editing program. The idea is to make it easy to email clips or post them on YouTube. The Flip also has a port on the side for connection to a TV.
The original concept behind this invention is that it’s so simple anyone can use it – from children to the elderly. It fits easily in a pocket so it can be slid out anytime and recording can start in seconds. With a price tag of $150 for a camera capable of shooting 30 minutes of video or $180 for the 60-minute model, the Flip also offers a more affordable alternative to all the souped-up camcorders on the market. The image quality is certainly not the best available, but it gets the job done – which is exactly what the Flip is designed to do. Its sole purpose is to quickly record video with minimal hassle. And, in a day-to-day life filled with frustrating computers, overly complicated cell phones and HDTVs with thousands of different outputs, simplicity can be a really endearing quality.
The Flip Ultra is currently available at electronics retailers nationwide.