Exclusive Images of FlipLive, the Streaming Video Camera that Will Never Be

Here are the first photos of Flip's never-to-be launched FlipLive.

The FlipLive was supposed to be Flip's next-generation camcorder, one that could stream video to the cloud. But Cisco killed the brand the day before the Live was supposed to launch.

David Pogue, who revealed the existence of the FlipLive, argues that Cisco should have kept Flip alive. That millions of people were buying them in droves and that they were great camcorders. That they have great video quality—comparable to previous-gen camcorders. That they're cheap.

True. All true.

But launching the FlipLive would have been the start of a very awkward strategy. It would have been more expensive. Closer to the price of a smartphone, or even exceeding it in some cases. And even though you have to admit the lack of monthly fees makes the FlipLive more affordable than a fancy handset, the problem is that the type of person who is streaming live video is also the type of person who buys a smartphone. And you'd have to be a pretty video-minded nut to want to carry another device around that does the same thing a smartphone can do.

Flip might have been okay today. And tomorrow. And made lots of money for a few years. But smartphones are getting cheaper and better. And the long view on Flip and all flash camcorders is that they're doomed to be bargain bin devices, standing in the shadow of handsets that are only beginning to show their versatility and power. Putting a wireless radio inside of one makes that abundantly clear. The camcorder wants the advantages of the smartphone. But it can't have them because it's not just about the radio. It's about the apps, and the onboard video editing and the filters and effects and the ability to work with many services and MMS and all the endless things that apps can do. And the camcorder only has one way to match that. By becoming a smartphone.