In short, it was Cisco (owner of Flip since 2009, which I always thought was an odd acquisition for a networking company) but, there is a underlying reason. For Cisco, it was that they wanted to cut costs and focus more on their primary business, which is networking equipment. But why didn’t they try to sell the Flip division? They make great cameras and could be an asset to any camera company. But, a lot has changed since the first Flip camera was released in 2006. In their early days, Flips provided very affordable, eventually high definition cameras that can be taken anywhere. These cameras have been used for anything from home movies to short films. Many people carried these cameras with them wherever they went so they can record video.
Now, five years later, most smartphones have a built-in high definition video camera that has most of the features offered by the Flips. So if someone has a smartphone or another devices with a built-in HD camera like the new iPod touches and iPads, why buy and carry another device that has features that are, for the most part, already available in a device that you own. Sure, the dedicated camcorders might have more features and controls but, for those people who just want to shoot home movies, and don’t tweak the settings they don’t need a dedicated camcorder and can stick to the built-in camera in other devices.
For those who are still interested in a camera like the Flip, I recommend the Kodak Zi8 because it shoots great, high-definition video much like the Flip and it also has two crucial features that the Flip didn’t offer. First, the Zi8 records to SD cards freeing you from the restraint of the device’s built-in memory and allowing you to swap cards out when one fills-up. The other feature, is a mic input that let’s you record audio from a better quality microphone which is important for people who video blog or who want to make any professional video. Still even with these features, if you want to make really professional video, you are better off with a traditional camcorder. Unless you need the small form-factor or have a limited budget, the traditional camcorder is best for professional video.
Although, it is sad that the Flip cameras are no more, they were more or less a evolutionary step for those who wanted a pocket-sized camcorder before they became standard in smartphones and many other devices. Great things were done with the Flips and they let people shoot video without having to carry around a full camcorder. They still are great cameras and shoot beautiful video which is why they were so popular and why they caused many other camera manufacturers to make their own pocket camcorders.