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Both TechCrunch and The Next Web are reporting that Cisco is killing the Flip line of video cameras.

Chat on Twitter seems to blame a combination of the rise of HD video on mobile phones, and the general move away from single purpose devices. Reading the blog posts suggests that it’s more Cisco’s desire to get out of consumer technology – but then, if Flip was a viable business, wouldn’t they be flogging it rather than shutting it down? However you look at it, this will be the end of a (brief) era, and a sad end for a company that manage to totally change the way we conceive of video capture with the web in mind. I’ve always been a fan of quick’n’dirty video for journalism – that the quality of the content and the speed of delivery often trumps the desire for maximum visual quality, and the Flip was a great gateway to that. No chargers, no cable, just point, shoot and import into your laptop. And, bar the cable-less bit, pretty much all of that has been absorbed by the mobile phone.

But here’s something that Flips offer that mobile phones don’t: battery life. Last summer, I went on a camping holiday to the Scilly Isles, with only intermittent access to power to recharge things. My Flip Mino HD survived the whole trip without needing a recharge. Try doing that with a mobile phone…

But, I suppose, journalists and campers are edge cases, and journalists who camp even more so. For the majority, the video you can pull off an iPhone is going to be more than good enough. And it’s not as if the Flip passes into the great graveyard of gorgeous gadgets without leaving behind some successors. I’ve been using a Kodak Zi8 for 18 months now and rather like it, and there are new offerings in the same line.

So long, Flip.

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