Spring fling: A new Flip video camera is on the way

If it's spring, there must be a new Flip video camera around the corner. At least that's what I heard--with a wink and a nod--from a Cisco insider yesterday afternoon. No real details--as in none, zero, nada--about what the new camera will bring to the table, just confirmation that it will be available to play with around the time of the NAB convention in Las Vegas in mid-April.

Before Christmas, the rumor was that a new Flip was due just after the holidays with a sliding screen to make it easier to watch and record video, a different menu configuration and a WiFi connection in addition to its USB ear. Santa's been and gone, so maybe this is the gift he meant to leave.

Cisco--which acquired Flip via its $590 million purchase of Pure Digital a year ago-has embraced the little-camera-that-can, featuring it in a TV and online video ad campaign that showed how solid its video was by using videos Flip owners sent in to the company.

Focusing so much energy on a consumer device might seem to be somewhat antithetical for a company like Cisco that is so, well, big picture oriented, vis-à-vis its latest new product news, a router that handles 322 terabits a second. But Cisco CEO John Chambers is a believer in online video as a growth engine, as he told shareholders last August. And it all starts with capturing that little picture... maybe Cisco continuing to push for improvments in its Flip video camera isn't such a stretch after all.