The tiny, bare bones Flip Video recorder now has 13 percent of the camcorder market, according to its creator, Pure Digital, indicating that the low-end video recorder buyers are booming even as video-sharing sites are rushing to support high-definition.
Despite the fact that the 13 percent figure comes from the company, it’s not hard to believe. With a sub-$150 price point, straightforward design, and YouTube accessibility, the handy camera has been a hit with consumers. As of this writing, Flip cameras held six of the top ten spots on Amazon’s camcorders bestseller list (including spots 1 and 2). Even Oprah blessed the devices, giving them away to audience members at one of her shows last November.
But the quality of video off a Flip is far from high-def — so what do we really want? Video-sharing sites like Dailymotion, Vimeo and Viddyou have all launched HD initiatives. Forget whether people have the pipes and processors to watch HD content, consumers seem to be saying from the outset with their Flip purchases that on-the-fly fun trumps pretty pictures and bells and whistles. (Though our eyes are thankful for the higher-quality YouTube streams.)
Of course, all of Pure’s success could be just good karma. At the end of last year it announced plans to distribute up to a million of its cameras to non-profits.
At some point, we’ll all bask in the cool glow of an all-HD world, but until then — good enough just got a whole lot better for the Flip.