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Pure Digital Bows Flip Mino; Hints at HD Unit

San Francisco — Pure Digital announced a new, slimmed-down version of its Flip Video digital camcorder today, and plans to add an HD camcorder to its line within 12 months. With the new Flip Video Mino, Pure Digital is phasing out its retail DVD-processing service. While the Mino, like previous Flip camcorders, can be brought to participating retailers to have its video burned to DVD, Pure Digital will no longer advertise that capability and will, in tandem with its retail partners, eventually phase out the service, said marketing VP Simon Fleming-Wood. In its place, Pure Digital will offer its own DVD-burning service via software built into the Mino. Using the software, consumers will be able to upload an hour’s worth of Flip video and have a DVD made and mailed back to them (or to any location around the world) for $19.99.The $179 Mino is 40 percent smaller than the Flip Ultra. Like its predecessor, it records VGA resolution video at 30 fps to internal flash memory. The Mino packs 2GB worth of internal storage for storing up to one hour of video and offers built-in software to upload videos to directly to MySpace, YouTube and AOL Video.

The Mino also features a 1.5-inch LCD and an internal rechargeable battery. It will be available in black or white this month to national accounts and to additional retailers in the fall. 
The company is planning to introduce an HD version of the Flip within the next 12 months, Fleming-Wood said. Because most Flip-recorded video ends up online, the company is examining how best to integrate higher-resolution video into its product, he added.

Pure Digital began its corporate life selling single-use digital cameras and a retail development platform that allowed dealers such as Ritz Camera and CVS to offer a digital twist on the one-time-use camera. While that business is still ongoing, it is being reevaluated as the dynamics of single use photography have changed, Fleming-Wood said. The Flip Video business is now the core focus for the company, he added.

According to Fleming-Wood, Pure Digital has a 15 percent share of the camcorder market. The figure is derived through a mixture of sales data from The NPD Group and the company’s own estimations based on sales through channels not captured by NPD, Fleming-Wood said.

Though its sales put the Flip line on par with full-featured camcorders from Sony and others, Fleming-Wood said the company was not seeking to compete on features. “We’ve deliberately staked out different territory.” Instead, it’s focused on simplicity and making video recording fun.

“Video had been really cumbersome — people had rejected it as a medium,” he said.

Fleming-Wood said the company would leverage its market leadership and increasingly recognized brand name to beat back emerging competitors.