GoPro Karma to launch ahead of holidays

“Hero5 and Karma will contribute to the largest introduction of products in our history, all in time for what we believe will be GoPro’s most exciting fourth quarter, ever – a quarter where we expect to return to profitability,” said Nicholas Woodman, CEO and Founder of GoPro, in the company’s Q2 Earnings Report released after market close yesterday.

The report also headlined that the Hero5 action camera and Karma drone will both be launched ahead of the upcoming holiday season.

GoPro’s Karma drone was initially scheduled for a June 2016 launch, but the company delayed the launch with Woodman saying: “while we had to make the difficult decision to delay our drone, Karma, the upside is that Karma’s launch should now benefit from the holidays.”

At sUAS News we suspect that GoPro delayed the launch of Karma to get Detect, Sense and Avoid (DSA) tech onboard the platform. With Yuneec and DJI arguably being GoPro’s biggest competition in the retail drone market, not having DSA onboard would have put Karma at an even greater disadvantage to the Yuneec H and DJI Phantom 4 which both released with the technology earlier this year.

At a minimum, to compete with DJI’s Phantom, GoPro’s Karma will need to have at least 4K video, a twenty minute flight time or greater, DSA technology as well as the support of secondary vendors like DroneDeploy and other real world use case companies. In other words, just marketing the Karma as a selfie drone will likely not be enough to make it successful in today’s crowded drone market.

Concerning distribution and product support, GoPro will also have to up their game after DJI partnered with Apple earlier this year for the launch of DJI’s Phantom 4.

When DJI release their Phantom 5, the Phantom 4’s price is bound to be dropped dramatically, which is also something that GoPro will have to consider when pricing Karma.

Last month we reported on what Karma might look like based on a patent filing by inventor and GoPro employee Ryan Michael Goldstein.

karma sphere version gopro karma patent 2

“Quadbox is a user-controlled drone for action cameras like GoPro that redefines portability and simplicity without costing more than your camera itself. Quadbox resembles an ordinary pencil box in shape and size, with sleek rounded corners and a flush outer surface, but open up the latches and pull out the arms and Quadbox transforms into a drone capable of carrying a GoPro camera.”

Only time will tell whether Karma looks like one of these designs. Whatever it looks like, it will have to have some big surprises in store, to compete with DJI and Yuneec as well as to live up to Woodman’s statement earlier this year: “Karma’s features make it much more than a drone.”

Download the PDF here