New Cisco Flip gets audio jack

Cisco Systems, (Nasdaq: CSCO) through two partnerships, has addressed the biggest limitation of it Flip digital video camera: audio.

Going back to when the Flip was initially under the PureDigital banner, the product could not attach an external microphone for improved audio quality recording.

The Flip video team has developed a port called the FlipPort which resides on select Flip video cameras. The FlipPort is proprietary but will enable users to attach microphones and sync up with wireless microphones along with batteries and chargers, which was another issue the Flip video team needed to address.

According to Ivan Entchevitch, product manager for Flip at Cisco, the audio quality on Flip cameras was always good but people wanted auxiliary help especially when recording concerts and now with FlipPort they can attach a microphone or wireless mic and the Flip audio quality is greatly improved.

Another area that Entchevitch said needed to be enhanced was image stabilization and the new line of Flip cameras, which are expected to be released in January of 2011, will feature 60 frames per second.

“The Flip is a lifestyle product and it’s supposed to go in your purse or your pocket and it was always geared towards the younger demographic,” Entchevitch said.

However, Flip’s market has expanded to include what he calls the active families who want bigger buttons and screen size.

Customization is an important selling feature for the Flip, Entchevitch said. The Flip comes in two lines the Mino, which his slim down version of the product and the Ultra and through its online store users can customize the look of their Flip cameras. Cisco has entered into agreements with several graphic design firms along with the National Basketball Association.

Even celebrities have gotten into the act such as David Arquette and Courteney Cox who designed their own Flip camera. However, now they will be his and her versions since they announced a separation.

Cisco also announced a “Designed for Flip” accessory program that encourages channel partners to develop, market and merchandise accessory products that complement the Flip. There are two types of Designed for Flip accessories:

1. Products that require a direct connection to the video camera such as the batteries and microphones.

2. And, accessories such as cases, covers and lenses. In this area Entchevitch displayed a telephoto lens that screws onto a standard Flip lens. Also in this area partners have designed a Flip for scuba divers and an AquaPack for swimmers.

Blue Microphones and Scosche Industries are the two biggest technical partners to join this program so far. Entchevitch said that Blue and Scosche developed microphone specifically for the Flip product.

Other accessories include a PICO projector that can show off your Flip produced video on a wall stretching to 10 feet. Flip will also have action mount tripods that can fit onto a mountain bike for example.

Durability has never been an issue for the Flip cameras, but Entchevitch told the story of a skier who lost her Flip in the snow and it was found two months later after the snow melted and all it needed was a fresh set of batteries and it still worked.

The Flip will continue to be pre-loaded with the FlipShare video editing software. New to the FlipShare will be direct connections to social media tools such as YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. Cisco has also created the Flip Channel where clips can be shared and pull down for other video projects.

Prices for Mino and Ultra will remain the same starting at $159 and going up to $239.

The accessories or the “Designed for Flip” products will be distributed to retailers such as Best Buy, Black’s Photo, Costco, Future Shop, ,a href=”” target=”_blank”>Staples and The Source.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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