Monday, July 7, 2008

Flipping over Flip

Yesterday I came across the most amazing piece of technology that I have seen in recent days.

Gregg Zachary was just back in Nairobi enroute to his home in the USA and I managed to catch him for a couple of hours of talk. During this he showed me some videos he had taken in Zambia and Uganda and said that he had used his "Flip camera". I was like, "what? Flip?" and he said "I'll show you."

When I saw the device I almost fell over. Barely the size of a cigarette pack, this modern day wonder allows the recording of up to 1 hour of video, stores in in .avi format (YouTube Ready!) on an internal solid state (Flash) disk and uses simple, everyday AA batteries. Wow! The most amazing part of all was the price. Gregg bought his off-the-shelf in the USA before coming out on this trip for $125 (Kshs. 8,000).

This amazing little piece of technology has a built-in USB-flash dongle, which allows you to hook it up to your computer - and the software for transferring, editing and managing video is right on the stick! Wacha nikuambie!!!! I believe that this gadget and others like it is probably going to have a similar impact on the videocam industry as cellphones had in the telecoms industry.

According to Business Week and the New York Times Pure Digital, the startup company behind the Flip cam was able to achieve 20% market share in the US videocam industry within less than 1 year.

My head has been spinning with ideas on how this kind of device can contribute towards the development of local, African content.

Boy o boy am I excited. I want to try and put several of these into the hands of people all over Kenya and see what happens....

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