May 31, 2008

So, obviously, small notebooks aren’t the only products that are being attacked by low-cost competition. RCA is back in the game with a trio of smaller Small Wonders, two of which are priced for less than $100. I liked the first generation of RCA’s spin on the Pure Digital technology powering the Flip series and have put in a request to see if RCA is still using Pure Digital’s stuff, but my guess is it’s not.

The new RCA generation seems slick and the size and price are certainly in the right direction. As it did with its  MP3 players, RCA is including a weather-resistant model. However, as with the recently reviewed Creative Vado, we’ll have to see if the video capture quality disappoints.

The CNet blog post bemoans that an HD version hasn’t materialized and I am frankly a little surprised that we’re not seeing those at this point. This will likely be the last generation that is not capable of at least 720p. I’m also disappointed that a planned standalone DVD recorder for the Small Wonder never seemed to materialize.

With Creative’s unusual product portfolio now including these low-end camcorders, who’s next? Sony’s already in the game with the GC1. I’d say other good candidates are Samsung and Logitech, maybe even Microsoft, playing off the latter two’s Webcam businesses.

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