Friday, January 28, 2022

GoPro Karma Drone Launch

On Friday GoPro stock closed up 5.65% ahead of the Karma product announcement tomorrow (Monday 19th September).

If that stock price keeps rising ahead of the announce it might be time to sell!

Why so bleak?

It is a hard market to enter. American drone maker 3DR has just about left the multirotor marketplace. Unable to compete with DJI.

My money is on DJI waiting in the wings to hear the confirmed price of the Karma (they perhaps already know it) and then slashing the price of its Phantom line.

The very name Karma to me is a direct reference to DJI. The two companies fell out many years ago and DJI started making their own cameras. DJI has gone on from strength to strength whilst GoPro’s fortunes have tumbled.

Not only that but rumour control is going mad over the launch of a new smaller platform from DJI, the Mavik. It certainly has drone intelligentsia excited.

I suspect the new Karma will have no gimbal, video being digitally stabilised. A low form factor making it easier to pack. No long legs with no gimbal to keep off the deck.

Or… there might be gimbal for a Hero 5. ┬áThe GoPro Hero 5 is slated to be able to record 8K resolution videos at 30fps, 4K resolution at 60fps and a 1080 resolution for 240fps. The GoPro Hero 5 is also expected to have a USB-C port, to make charging and data transfers a lot faster.

If Karma retails for much more than $500, I think it will be dead in the water. This Christmas sees several selfies drones in the $500 range hitting the shelves.

So let us unpack the pricing slightly.

If you can mount previous generation GoPro cameras there will be a with or without camera price.

Drone users expect to see live video feeds on smartphones and tablets. How I wonder would Karma cope with camera control if it is backwardly compatible with older models.

As mentioned the GoPro 5 is expected to have a USB-C port and that might be just the ticket. Older cameras don’t have that. Perhaps they will use WiFi and 5.8 gHz for control (like others).

Let us say they make just the Karma $350, right now the best GoPro is the Hero 4 Black at $450. The Hero 5 can’t be much cheaper than that. Let’s just say $500 to keep it simple. That would be $850 without really trying hard. Of course, there will be a launch bundle offer.

Phantom 3 Professional country (well it will be if DJI thinks it has to be). Yes, there is a Phantom 4 out there now, the three is tried and tested. Parts and accessories are out there. Applications for making money with them abound.

Unless there are some truly magical new features, that nobody else has. A price DJI can’t beat I just can’t see that there are enough loyal GoPro fans in the world.

It’s going to be interesting to see how tomorrow unfolds.

Gary Mortimer
Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.