David Pogue pens a piece on The Flip — an ultra-simple point-and-shoot camcorder that’s taken 13% of the market (according to the manufacturer).

Somebody at Pure Digital must have sat through countless meetings, steadfastly refusing to cede any ground to the forces of feature creep.

And here’s all the stuff it can’t do:

The screen is tiny (1.5 inches) and doesn’t swing out for self-portraits. You can’t snap still photos. There are no tapes or discs, so you must offload the videos to a computer when the memory is full (30 or 60 minutes of footage, depending on whether you buy the $150 or $180 model). There are no menus, no settings, no video light, no optical viewfinder, no special effects, no headphone jack, no high definition, no lens cap, no memory card. And there’s no optical zoom — only a 2X digital zoom that blows up and degrades the picture. Ouch.

And the stuff it can:

Instead, the Flip has been reduced to the purest essence of video capture. You turn it on, and it’s ready to start filming in two seconds. You press the red button once to record (press hard — it’s a little balky) and once to stop. You press Play to review the video, and the Trash button to delete a clip.

Pogue says the secret is that it just simply works. It’s always ready, it’s always trustworthy, it’s always with you. The quality isn’t the sell, the convenience and foolproofery is. You can’t make a mistake, you can’t do anything wrong. Its purpose is pure to the core: Shoot quick videos without thinking about it.

I love it. Kudos to Pure Digital for having the discipline to make a camcorder for the rest of us.

[Hat tip to Chris for the link]