I compared the short-lived netbook mobile device category to the legendary Pony Express in an earlier item.
I believe that netbooks filled an important market category even if that category, like the 18 month lifespan of the Pony Express, only existed for a short time. There many other examples of transitional services and products that were popular for a time and then disappeared to be replaced by a longer term product. The Pony Express was replaced by telegraph and railways. Netbooks are in the process of being replaced by tablets (like the iPad) on the lower price range and ultralight notebooks (like Apple’s MacBook Air) in the higher end of the price range.
This brings us the latest transitional product to bite the dust.
Pure Digital Technologies’ Flip video cameras were a great transitional product that provided good quality video, long video recording and extremely simple usage for a reasonable price. It provided a great alternative to expensive tape or solid state based dedicated video cameras or moderately expensive compact cameras that could also record video clips. The Flip was so successful during its heyday that companies like Sony and Kodak rushed out their own solid state consumer video cameras. However, it was only a matter of time before smartphones and even feature phones integrated video recording and eliminated the need to carry a second device just to record video. The phone’s dual ability to capture and quickly share video over wireless networks also eliminated a the process of moving video from a dedicated video camera to a desktop or notebook.
The Flip served an important role in proving how important recording video is to consumers and that having a decent camera with you all the time is better than having a great expensive video camera but missing moments because you do not have it with you.