Bad Karma – GoPro to shutter drone division in February

Karma Core

Techcrunch reports that GoPro is to lay off 2-300 jobs largely in the drone section. Not quite sure how many people were working in the drones bit. Last we heard a handful of devs had been employed to start creating the Karma 2, but with no announce for this Christmas it was plain that was dead in the water.

GoPro cameras are relatively heavy, keeping them compatible with their own line of drones was always going to mean larger drones. That is not going to work in a world where consumer drones are all trying to weigh less than 250g to avoid more regulatory scrutiny.

The DJI Spark is quite an amazing platform, only needing to shed a few grams to be under 250.

GoPro did too little too late to join the drone market, Nick Woodman had his chance with DJI but blew it. Investors might want to have a chat with him about that again. Karma will be held up at drone class in the future as textbook what not to do.

Speculation is rife that this has not been made public yet, as the place drone innovation goes to die, CES, happens next week.

The 3DR Solo has enjoyed a second life with improved flight controller and new firmware arriving from the community if you can still find one they represent great bang for buck. Karma is less likely to enjoy a new lease of life as the main board is highly integrated and difficult to modify without ninja soldering skills.

Update 8th Jan 2018 – GoPro fesses up

  • Although Karma reached the #2 market position in its price band in 2017, the product faces margin challenges in an extremely competitive aerial market. Furthermore, a hostile regulatory environment in Europe and the United States will likely reduce the total addressable market in the years ahead. These factors make the aerial market untenable and GoPro will exit the market after selling its remaining Karma inventory. GoPro will continue to provide service and support to Karma customers.

https://investor.gopro.com/press-releases/press-release-details/2018/GoPro-Announces-Preliminary-Fourth-Quarter-2017-Results/default.aspx