Flip camcorder set for Aussie release

It’s the gadget de jour for the geek elite and the blogging digerati. It’s more trendy than Fendi. It’s the iPod or BlackBerry of camcorders.

It’s the Flip a flash-based video camera which combines point-and-shoot video capture with plug-and-play editing uploading and sharing.

And after a year’s wait the Flip will reach Aussie shores and mainstream stores in time for Christmas. We’ll see two models from the higher end of the Flip family although an exact availability date is yet to be announced.

The Flip Mino which will sell for $230 captures video in 640×480 resolution at 30 frames per second onto a 2GB slab of flash memory which equals around one hour of footage using MPEG-4 (Part 2) compression in an AVI container.

The $300 Mino HD ups the ante to 1280 x 720 resolution combining H.264 video compression and AAC audio into an MPEG-4 (Part 10) MP4 file. 4GB of flash memory keeps the recording time to 60 minutes.

Neither model has a slot for an SD memory card however so you’ve got to download or dump your first hour of video before you can continue shooting.

Both models sport a rechargeable battery with running times of four hours for the Mini and two hours for the Mino HD.

The Mino’s coolest trait is the flip-out USB plug which lets you plug the Mino into your desktop notebook or even netbook to upload the footage for editing (Windows and Mac software is preloaded onto the Flip) sending as a ‘video email’ or uploading to YouTube.

The first models to land here will be in basic black – colours customised cases and accessories (among them an underwater case and a bicycle helmet attachment) will follow early in the new year.