The other day I got an e-mail from the folks at Flip Video telling me that on October 14 they'd be launching a new online service that would let consumers design custom versions of the Flip Mino minicamcorder. They were going to send me a Mino with one of the company's new stock "custom" designs on it, but they also said I could take the beta site for a test run and design my own Mino. So, I did.
The process is quite simple. You just upload an image--it helps to have something with ample resolution--and that image is grafted onto a virtual Mino. You can then make some tweaks and position the image to your liking. (Check this all out at theflip.com).
If you don't want to use your own image, you have a few other options. You can choose from several stock designs or use the Design Generator to create a custom pattern. In the coming weeks, Flip Video will also be adding hundreds of user-generated designs to the "design marketplace" on theflip.com and cafepress.com. If you're designer, you can opt to post your Mino design online and Flip Video will pay you a $10 royalty every time someone buys a Mino with your design.
I have to say, this is pretty brilliant. Mix a community-based element with little viral element (you can share your designs) and you can see how something like this can be a boon to sales. Also, buying a batch of Minos emblazoned with a company logo would obviously appeal to certain organizations.
In case you're wondering, except for the exterior finish, this Mino is exactly the same as the current Mino, which is the No. 2 bestselling camcorder on Amazon after its step-down sibling, the Flip Video Ultra. The only problem I see with the whole system is the custom Mino carries the full list price of the product ($179.99), whereas the Mino on Amazon and other online outlets costs $25-$30 less. For a lot of people, that extra premium won't seem worth it.
Is more customization in the cards for electronics products? Sure, we've seen lots of accessories for cell phones and engravings for the back of iPods, but it doesn't seem like much of a leap for companies like Apple to charge a premium for custom paint jobs. Leave a comment and let us know what you think.