A simple idea executed to perfection

The original Flip Ultra was developed with just one goal in mind: put the power of video into the hands of everyday people. We worked with Flip’s creators, Pure Digital Technologies, to design something that would connect with consumers of all ages and tech abilities, and make it easy for them to share everyday moments — not just special occasions. We kept trimming the design features to ensure the experience wasn’t just simple, it would be effortless. That meant no cables, integrated software and ready to go at the touch of a button.

Red Dot Product Design Award


From startup to bestseller in one fell swoop

The Flip Ultra hit the market in September 2007 and sales took off, turning Pure Digital Technologies into the fastest-growing startup in Silicon Valley history. A Flip quickly became the product of choice for anyone and everyone. Parents took it everywhere to catch their kids’ blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments. Teachers used it as a learning tool in classrooms. Pretty soon, the Flip’s portable, friendly design hit critical mass, resulting in millions of videos shared around the world. At a time when clunky camcorders were priced in the thousands, the Flip became the video recorder for the rest of us.

This was a moment of truth for personal technology. The Flip had managed to seamlessly integrate hardware, software and online networking in a single handheld product. Imitators and competitors took note. Then in one of the most dramatic “product startup to brand leader” business story arcs, Cisco acquired Pure Digital Technologies in May 2009 for $590 million.

The country’s favorite video camera

Over the years, Smart worked with the Flip team to define purposeful product experiences beyond the Flip Ultra — producing the Flip UltraHD, Flip Mino, MinoHD, Flip SlideHD and FlipShare TV. At one point, the Flip was so recognizable it was third most recognizable tech product for the under 25 demographic after the iPhone and Wii.

In recognition of its success, Smart and Pure Digital Technologies won the Design of the Decade award for “Most Appealing Consumer Solution” at the 2010 Industrial Designers’ Society of America (ISDA) Awards. Flip cameras also held six of the top 10 spots on Amazon’s bestseller list, which secured its title as the country’s favorite video camera.

Sure, it was just a little pocket video camera. Yet it managed to emotionally connect with millions of people. Even better, its simple and purposeful design inspired generations to fall in love with making videos from the very first time they picked up a Flip.