Farewell Flip cam, as smartphones overtake market for single-use devices

Cisco (CSCO) has announced that it’s folding its Flip cam operations, leaving more than 500 people out of work, as people are looking less and less for single-use devices when it comes to consumer electronics. After all, why buy a juice maker when you can have an 11-piece mixing system that chops, crushes, blends, and makes a variety of food and drink in the process?

Although the Flip cam remains a popular choice for consumers seeking a basic, low-priced video camera, the problem is that there are fewer of these folks as the smartphone market grows. The Flip cam lacks Wi-Fi connectivity, a microphone, and the ability to upload to online sites, leaving higher-end cameras that shoot in high-definition the choice for those who can afford them, and smartphones the preference for the rest of us.

So as you turn to your smartphones for all your video needs, where do you go to shoot and upload your videos for all the world (or your parents and trustworthy friends) to see?

iPhone users are in luck as just weeks ago, Vimeo launched an iPhone app that allows users to shoot, edit and view videos. There’s also iMovie, Qik VideoCamera Pro and iVideoCamera, all of which allow you to shoot and edit video clips almost for free. And the iPhone 4 shoots in high-definition, so your home videos will be a far cry in terms of quality – not content – from the ones your parents still pull out on special occasions to embarrass you.

Unfortunately Vimeo has shelved its plans for an Android app for now. But you can still use the device’s Camera app in video mode and upload from the Gallery to your email, Twitter or YouTube. There are also apps such as Socialcam that allow you to shoot and share video within the app.

Now, if only there was an app that also held your camera to keep it from having a Blair Witch effect, made sure your thumb and wayward passersby stayed out of the shot, and dubbed in the voice of Morgan Freeman as the all-knowing narrator. Time for someone to get to work on the James Cameron of mobile video apps – maybe one of the former Flip cam folks?

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