PluggedIn: Flip Camcorder Moves up to HD

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The Flip camcorder, whose small form factor, ease of use, and low pricing made it a huge hit with consumers against giant rivals such as Sony, is stepping up to world of high-definition (HD). Pure Digital Inc. has released the Flip Mino HD in time for the holiday shopping season.

By Gabriel Madway

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 11 (Reuters) - The Flip camcorder, whose pint-sized frame, no frills approach and small price tag made it a huge hit with consumers, is stepping up to the more rarefied world of high-definition.

The new Flip Mino HD is being released on Wednesday by Pure Digital Inc. The company has become something of an overnight sensation with the success of the Flip.

But the consumer environment has changed considerably over the past few months. No. 1 U.S. electronics retailer Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N) said on Wednesday "seismic changes in consumer behavior have created the most difficult climate we've ever seen."

With recession-fearing shoppers holding tight to their purse strings, much of the electronics industry is approaching the holiday season with more than a touch of trepidation.

In addition, the market for small, inexpensive camcorders has gotten extremely crowded since the original Flip debuted in May 2007, including offerings from big names such as Sony Corp (6758.T) and RCA Corp.

But Jonathan Kaplan, Pure Digital's chief executive, says the Flip, which appeals to the budget-minded, has yet to feel the effects. And he expects the HD Flip, which he calls the world's smallest HD camcorder, to be popular with teens and early adopters.

He said the HD Flip stays true to the company's mantra of easy and affordable. Always concerned about so-called "feature-creep," Kaplan emphasized that the company was not interested in adding lots of bells and whistles.


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