Video cameras acting as an express lane to YouTube are gaining in popularity. First there was the Flip, now comes the VHoldr.
The VHoldr is smaller and pricier than the nifty Flip Video camera, but it sets itself apart by enabling hands-free operation. The VHoldr is a ruggedized, weatherproof video camera that is palm-size, but intended to be worn and not held. It's meant to capture video on the go, say, while you're speeding down a snow-covered mountain, bouncing over mountain bike trails or engaging in any other extreme sport of which you'd like to see the video footage. There's no live element to it, but the video is easily uploadable to the Web (hopefully) after editing.
There's a single button that turns the camera on and begins recording, a lens that rotates 180 degrees, and a variety of mounts for the unit. Once video has been recorded, a USB cable sends the video to a PC, where VHoldr software will allow users to edit and upload footage directly to VHoldr.com, the video-hosting site for users, or YouTube.
Founder Marc Barros created the company in a schoolwide business-plan competition he entered with two others while undergraduate students at the University of Washington. After winning third place, their company, dubbed Twenty20 , made helmet camera attachments for camcorders out of their Seattle garage, which they sold to their fellow extreme sports enthusiasts.
The latest incarnation isn't available until December, but Barros was showing it off to investors and journalists at this week's TechCrunch 40 conference, a showcase for start-ups. The new version will sell for $350 and be available through 400 retailers.