Sony has come out with two new Bloggie HD cameras, the Bloggie Live and the Bloggie Sport, each with touchscreens and HD video to occupy the high end of the shrinking "Flip Camera" market of small MP4 video recorders. The first is the Bloggie Live (MHS-TS55), which shoots 1080p video, 12.8-megapixel stills, and includes live streaming via Wi-Fi to Qik. It uses a 3-inch capacitive screen for controls and also includes a small LED light, HDMI-out, and 8GB of internal memory which Sony says is good for about 3 hours of HD video storage.
While the Bloggie Live shoots full 1080p video, it will only live-stream at a paltry 480 x 270. However, the streamed video will still be saved locally in full 1080p and can be directly uploaded over Wi-Fi to YouTube, Facebook, or Sony's upcoming PlayMemories Online storage service. If you find yourself on a "captive portal" Wi-Fi hotspot, the Bloggie Live also includes the most basic of "browsers," which theoretically should be just enough for you to enter any necessary credentials and check any Terms-of-Services boxes to get online. It should be available immediately for $250, but you can also purchase it along with a Verizon Jetpack Mi-Fi device and save $50 — though that offer ends on April 9th and it of course will lock you into a two-year contract with Verizon.
The Bloggie Sport (MHS-TS22) represents Sony's attempt at entering the rugged camera market. It's waterproof down to 16 feet of water, is shock and dust proof, and should be able to survive a drop of up to five feet by dint of it's heavily rubberized exterior. Like the Bloggie Live, it has a LED light and shoots 1080p video, but stills only come in at 5 megapixels. It still has a touchscreen (which works underwater too), but it's only 2.7 inches diagonally — a factor that's more than offset by a large set of easily pressable physical buttons for major features. Storage is limited to a relatively small 4GB. It should be available next month for around $180 in three colors: black, red, and blue.
If you were hoping for an iteration of the Bloggie 3D model, we have bad news: Sony's discontinued it and isn't following up with a new version. These two are all that's left of Sony's Bloggie lineup in a category that's looking fairly forlorn in the face of increasingly better smartphone cameras. Sony talked up improved SteadyShot video and low light quality as compared to the Galaxy S II and iPhone 4, but in our brief hands-on neither seemed noticeably better. Sony's answer, at least as far as the Bloggie Sport is concerned, is that it's "not about whether it's better than a smartphone, it's about using it in places you won't take your iPhone 4S." That's fair enough, we suppose, but at $180 and $250, these still feel like pretty hard sells to anybody who owns a top tier smartphone.