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Remember to think about the batteries with The Flip!

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I have been snorkeling. Probably one of the only times that I don’t take my mobile phone with me when I go out. Sad, but true.

But you’re the same, right?

I did, however, take The Flip. In fact, if I’m totally honest, The Flip is the major reason that I agreed to snorkeling in the first place.

If you haven’t snorkeled before — or gone diving — then a unique experience awaits. The biggest trauma I had was learning that when I stick my head underwater, I can still breathe.

That and the sharks.

They have sharks in the Maldives.

“Little baby tiny ones that you just have to tap on the nose to get’em to go away,” my friend Angus told me a few weeks ago.

Riiight.

I took my Flip and I placed it into the water-tight container and turned it on. Then I arsed about with my snorkel and mask for a few minutes whilst being gently buffeted by the little waves.

The Flip gave me purpose. If I hadn’t had that, I’d have spent the time panicking about breathing underwater, I reckon.

I set about filming stuff. So much stuff, fishes and coral and such, that when I came back in, I discovered I’d recorded just over a gig of video!

Standby. I’m going to upload some shortly.

The ease of use of The Flip is fantastic. I’ve seen one Japanese tourist with a specialised watertight case for his fancy camcorder. The real problem is getting the footage off the camcorder without an array of leads and arsing about. I love how you just ‘Flip’ out the USB connector from the device and plug it in, then watch your videos. Really, really smart.

As I’ve commented before, The Flip shouldn’t exist. It shouldn’t have been allowed to exist. Nokia, in particular — along with Sony Ericsson, Samsung and LG — shouldn’t have let the market open up. One of the chief benefits of having a mobile handset, apart from the usual guff, is that you can take pictures and video with it.

The mobile networks and the handset manufacturers have been spectacularly shit in this regard. I kid ye not. I’ve stood in front of representatives from them all and found myself shocked at the total lack of understanding.

Only a month or so ago I was at the LG Secret launch. It’s a beautifully designed handset, it really is. 5 megapixel camera and an uber-uber-good video camera with, if memory serves, 120 frames per second capabilities.

Great.

Getting the footage OFF the device is a total and utter arse. This issue is the first one I put to the UK Marketing Director. He’s a smart chappy but he readily admitted that it’s not a priority and, to paraphrase from memory, it won’t be a priority for quite a while.

Meanwhile The Flip has come along and eaten everyone’s lunch.

Want to take video, easily? Get a Flip. Don’t bother with anything else and especially not your mobile handset. Chances are it was designed by a team who simply DO NOT GET IT or are unwilling to GET IT because of market dynamics. Obviously, your average mobile network would rather you transmitted your 1gig video of your snorkeling adventure via their data network to Youtube. So they’re rather likely to frown upon any manufacturer coming along and making it reaaaaally simple for normobs (“normal mobile users”) to be able to take video and send it to Youtube or friends and family easily.

Incidentally, it would cost me about 7,500 UK pounds to transmit the videos I took the other day on the Fllip via my T-Mobile connection, right now, here in the Maldives.

I just used the hotel’s complimentary internet connection. What a shame.

But, big up The Flip. If you haven’t got one, do consider a purchase. You can find them on Amazon.

I don’t hold with James Whatley’s viewpoint. James, our uber-mobile correspondent (who’s currently heading to the Glastonbury festival to get very muddy and try out some technology there for us) doesn’t like The Flip.

He especially doesn’t like it because it doesn’t do live. He wants to be able to stream, a la QIK.

I don’t really want every bit of footage captured to be streamed to the planet. I’d like to edit. You don’t want to watch 30 minutes of me arsing about in the water, do you?

The other viewpoint — expressed by Dan Lane, uber-mobile geek and SMS Text News podcast contributor — is that having a Flip makes good sense when you’re out and about — at a festival, for example. Because taking footage on the Flip doesn’t wear down your battery on your mobile, rendering you contactable by your friends.

These opinions and more, by the way, you can hear on Podcast 10.

And so to my final point. There I was, 100m off shore, trying to take a video of a rather colourful fish and wondering why The Flip wasn’t playing ball. In the end I stood up. I was rather surprised to find that the water came up to my thighs. Heh. I stood up, opened up the watertight container and then read the ‘battery low’ message.

Ahh.

For some reason I’d got it into my mind that The Flip is powered by USB. It’s not. It takes 2xAA batteries. A quick trip to the hotel shop and I’m now good for another 2.5 hours worth of footage. Right on.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

17 replies on “Remember to think about the batteries with The Flip!”

It's not USB re-chargeable??? That renders my recent over night 'charging' attached to a USB charger recently somewhat pointless… 🙂

And, no smart alecs, I can't RTFM – I had a loan unit sans FM.

Need to warn Whatley – he's heading to Glasto with it.

Totally jealous! I've just come back from Tossa de Mar (yes, it's really called Tossa!), I spent quite a few hours snorkeling, it was bliss…

I manage to capture some underwater footage on my N95. I'll post it later.

Looking forward to seeing your Flip footage.

Ah, you are sooo last week!

Here's the skinny on the new Flip Mino, including being smaller, lighter, better quality video and USB rechargeable internal battery with 4hrs of shooting battery life and 1hr of shooting memory (2GB).

USB vs. AA is like dancing about architecture – lots of arm-waving, but ultimately pointless. For years I swore by AA's, until really decent Li-Ion batterys came along. Now my memory cards run out before my battery does. In fact, they last so long that it's a problem remembering to charge up.

The fact that the Flip Mino charges via USB means you just leave it connected while editing. Some basic maths says that if you've shot an hour's video, you only need it plugged in for 15 minutes to be topped up again. And as it takes at least 7 mniutes to transfer an hour's video at USB2 speeds, in theory it will be darn near *impossible* to ever be caught with a flat battery. Plus you can charge in the car or taxi if you remember a wee cigarette USB plug.

Nice. Want it. Need it.

Out later this summer in the UK., or now in the US. Might get a mate to grab me one now, as the UK price will inevitably be a rip-off.

p.s. Paris uses one. It must be easy.

/m

Taking the conversation to a different arena, I have to take offense to your statement that Nokia in particular has let this market open up. Unless you're suggesting that they include a flip-out USB plug, I can't think of anything easier than Nokia to get media off your device.

Bluetooth – when I walk within range of my computer, my phone and it hook up, automatically (meaning ZERO interaction from me) and automatically any new pics/vids are placed in a folder, according to the month in which they were shot/recorded. Boom, just like that.

USB – same thing. It's automatic, and setting that up consisted of a simple wizard – once – and I'm off.

Worst case scenario, I pop the MicroSD out of the phone and into an adapter.

All without a proprietary cable of any sort.

We need to do a Nokia Deathmatch Ricky. Somehow.
You and I. One cage. Heh.

I should have prefaced my point with a huge 'normob' sign.

Show me a normob that uses Bluetooth to their computer.

To other friends' mobiles, yes. But to their computer?

USB isn't the same thing as you describe. It needs a stupid cable. It's
great for you, or I. But my father, mother, or most normobs couldn't be
arsed. They *really* couldn't.

As for MicroSDs… dear me no. Too much hassle, again. It's all doable.
How many phones have easy to access SD cards that don't require you to take
the sodding battery off the phone first?

The great unwashed want USB.

Well, actually, they want seamless. USB via Flip is the most seamless
possible.

Nokia has gone a long way to get things compatible with their USB cable.
Why do people have to choose 'function in disk mode'? Why is my Nokia
device so stupid as to be unable to work it out itself? I don't care what
the excuse is from the developer, the answer is it's shit.

So forgetting Nokia for a moment… LG? Samsung? Moto?

Until I can talk my grandma how to take a video with a device then put it on
her computer and mail it to me — without having to spend hours on the phone
— The Flip is the way ahead. A shame, a real shame.

The mobile industry will get there. At some point in a few years time.

w00t!

I'm in Ewan's corner, holding the towels and spare AA batteries…

Set the scene: N95. Flip. Matching PC's. Sharing website.

First to post wins.

There's an SMSTN Blog Qik in there somewhere…..

Ricky and I could probably go head to head on that across the atlantic.
The issue isn't us. It's normobs, is it not, though?

So we could get two normobs in, give them a basic overview of each device
and attach each normob to a 220v electrical source, switched off.

Whoever uploads their video fastest to their PC automatically triggers a 20
second shock to the losing party…

Maybe not … 😉

And MicroSD is such a faff about. Not only do you need to find your card reader, you need to find the wee MicroSD-SD adapter to plug it into. And anyone older than 30 is likely to need glasses to get the tiny thing to fit in the adapter.

The EYE-Fi card has sold millions in the US, because it's instant, automatic and dead easy. Eye-Fi are another company who has captured a slice of market that shouldn't exist, but does because the camera companies were so bad at getting images off the devices and into places or software customers wanted their images to go.

Nokia created a market for phones as cameras/video cameras, but didn't join up the consumer-level end-to-end dots. If they do then the Flip is doomed. but for now it's flying.

/m

And MicroSD is such a faff about. Not only do you need to find your card reader, you need to find the wee MicroSD-SD adapter to plug it into. And anyone older than 30 is likely to need glasses to get the tiny thing to fit in the adapter.

The EYE-Fi card has sold millions in the US, because it's instant, automatic and dead easy. Eye-Fi are another company who has captured a slice of market that shouldn't exist, but does because the camera companies were so bad at getting images off the devices and into places or software customers wanted their images to go.

Nokia created a market for phones as cameras/video cameras, but didn't join up the consumer-level end-to-end dots. If they do then the Flip is doomed. but for now it's flying.

/m

And MicroSD is such a faff about. Not only do you need to find your card reader, you need to find the wee MicroSD-SD adapter to plug it into. And anyone older than 30 is likely to need glasses to get the tiny thing to fit in the adapter.

The EYE-Fi card has sold millions in the US, because it's instant, automatic and dead easy. Eye-Fi are another company who has captured a slice of market that shouldn't exist, but does because the camera companies were so bad at getting images off the devices and into places or software customers wanted their images to go.

Nokia created a market for phones as cameras/video cameras, but didn't join up the consumer-level end-to-end dots. If they do then the Flip is doomed. but for now it's flying.

/m

If you have worries about batteries, well, then it's time to tell you about the digital quantum batteries. Such batteries are still a project at work, but in a few years, cellphones will probably be recharged once a month:))

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