GoPro had high hopes for entering the drone market, but it seems those hopes (much like its drones) are beginning to crash and burn. Okay, so while its drones didn’t exactly crash and burn... they did crash.
The company began teasing its first entry into the drone industry back in 2015 when it announced the Karma. The Karma was expected to be released early 2016, but due to the company's first-quarter results, it decided to delay the release until the holidays. As promised, the company finally unveiled the drone in September, with flashy features like “Hollywood-caliber aerial, handheld and gear-mounted image stabilization” to describe it. The drone finally starting shipping at the end of October.
Unfortunately, the hype of the drone didn’t last long. According to reports, the drone lost power in the air, causing it to crash. This led to GoPro recalling all Karma drones in the beginning of November due to performance issues. The company refunded every drone, and announced it would give operators a free HERO5 Black camera as an apology.
The company says it is working hard to fix the problem and get the Karma back on the market as soon as possible, but is it already too late? The holiday season is almost over, so any holiday sales the company was expecting to get are long gone now. In addition, a report revealed GoPro’s stock is down, and the company is planning to lay off 15% of its staff.
While the drone industry is still relatively new, it is fast becoming a very competitive market. DJI is currently leading the drone manufacturer race, and we have already seen drone companies drop out. And because the industry is so new, safety and security are everything to ensuring its success, which GoPro has already failed to do.
GoPro is known for its camera, but currently its name is associated with its drone failure. Why will people continue to invest in something that already has known failures? It raises the question if the company should have just continued to partner with manufacturers and have its camera put on other drones rather than taking an ambitious and risky leap on its on.
Only 2017 will tell if this company has any chance of making it back into the frontlines.
Do you think GoPro can still make a name for itself in the drone market? Are you still looking forward to the Karma drone? Sound off in the comments below.