Will the Smartphone Finally Replace the Flip camera?

(Update: Engadget is reporting that iPhone 4 will include Facebook Integration, and that includes direct video uploads to your Facebook account from your iPhone.)

This post started off as a Twitter conversation between me and my friend Ashley Gephart, the day that Apple announced their new iPhone 4. I had sent out a tweet asking what the impact of the iPhone would be on products like the Flip camera for PR types and non-profit communicators and she responded that most non-profits wouldn’t pay for something like this, and that a lot of non-profits still don’t get social media. While true, I think we were talking past each other, I was looking at how it would impact the Flip camera, while she was looking at the impact from non-profits, although I think more non-profits will get behind this when they hear about the benefits. (so point all of your non-profit peeps here for info and consulting ;) )

The Flip camera has been the darling of many a PR person creating content for social media (especially if you read Ragan.com), and it’s a nice little basic video camera (which has, IMHO, been replaced by the Kodak Zi8 for better audio and the Sony Bloggie CM5’s superior optical zoom).

But with the introduction of the newest iPhone, Steve Jobs announced that the camera will be able to record 720p high definition video, in addition to taking pictures with the 5MP lens on the camera that you can upload to your company’s Web site, or Flickr account. In addition to this, the iPhone’s app store will finally carry an iPhone friendly version of iMovie – Apple’s grandma-ware version of video editing software.

I use iMovie a little bit at work, in addition to being interested in audio and video editing software on both Windows and Mac platforms. For the kind of video you can shoot on a iPhone, a stripped down version of iMovie will be perfect for this kind of a platform. You’re not going to want to do a lot of intensive video shooting or editing on a smartphone, but for basic video (which let’s admit, is a lot of what communicators do with their Flip video camera) a basic version of iMovie should be fine.

Then if you can integrate that video with geotagging, or Twitter, or a podcast, Google Earth, etc. your ability to share and connect stories with others grows exponentially. As my co-worker Carolyn Gonzales can attest to, every time that we’ve presented together or been on a panel, I’ve said that in the near future your smartphone is going to be your weapon of choice for on-the-go content creation and social connectivity, and now with HD video, pictures, etc.

Like most on-the-go types, I really get tired of lugging around a lot of equipment for taking pictures, shooting video, making phone calls, etc. These iPhone/Android phone advances are finally approaching the “one product to replace them all” category. Plus if you can upload your edited videos and photos to the Interwebs, you can even replace the need for a laptop in these cases.

I’m looking forward to seeing Android’s response, since I’m an Android fan. And it might not be too hard for someone out there (Sony or Microsoft??) to design a streamlined video editing package for this platform, but right now I think Apple has jumped to the top of the communicators toolbox