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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.

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