Another DJI victim. As an industry insider, if there ever was a company I'm impressed with is DJI. Their technical depth and ability to evolve their product and get it to shelves on short cycles is unmatched.
Note drone entrepreneurs - if there's money to be made in drones, DJI will take it to itself.
The thing is that you simply can't compete with the vertical integration of DJI. Taking images and videos is still by far and large the reason to fly drones in the first place, and once you own the vertical stack and can integrate your imagers with the electromechanics (gimbal) you get to a very small and efficienct package.
Think about that: for every gram of camera, you need two grams of stabilizer, then you need four grams of drone and battery to carry that. While DJI just stabilize their optics and sensor, GoPro stabilizes an entire 80g, bulky camera. This is mainly why the Karma is so big and heavy compared to the DJI Mavic (there are some advantages to DJI in propulsion and batteries but those are pretty small; not a lot of proprietary tech in those fields).
Disappointing, but not surprising.
I've looked at quite a few drone startup projects (as investments). I'm not sure everyone fully understands how formidable DJI is right now.
They are the Apple/Amazon AWS of the drone market.
I have a GoPro, and I love it.
But for a pet project I also bought a cheap sub-80 euros clone off of alibaba (found the same on amazon.fr a few euros more expensive), and I have to say the quality of it was good enough for most usage I actually have, and it came with equipment to attach it, take it underwater, ... To the point I realized, if I had neither now for my need that cheap one with a good sd card would be enough.
There is obviously a place for GoPro as a brand but given how the bazillion smartphone camera optics produced every years helped improve the field immensely in price/quality, their attempt to capture the market while having decent margins was doomed. Most people will prefer "good enough, third of the price".
At least that's how I view it.
The DJI Mavic introduced right after the GoPro Karma pretty much ended its future. You would have thought gopro would have been partnered with so many drone makers years ago instead of going at it alone. That company needs a new leader.
The issue is they have been doing me too mentality for the last 3 years.
Cheap GoPro eroded their margins, and ignored the fact that for most people their cell phone is good enough for video. Karma, and their gimbal is great, but products like Rylo saw the future as being motor-less. And after using it, I agree.
If the karma had built a battery-less Fusion, they would have had something that was new, instead of trying to play catch up and gerry-rigging a GoPro to a drone.
I still have hope, but they got take more risks and build their future not someone else's.
IMHO, they are wrong. GoPro has build a very good reputation. If the margins are too small, they could increase their prices and slightly erode their reputation. If they quit, they lose what they have build. A long time ago, I have heard the story of a sotfware company that was on the verge of bankruptcy because of their small margin. They decided to triple their prices and update the packaging. They have lost half their clients and saved the company that became very profitable. When Oracle bought Sun, they almost double the prices of many services. If Sun did it, maybe it would last longer.
Ah shit, it's over. GoPro stock is finished. I knew I should have sold.
This is what happens when American companies offshored all of their production to China. Eventually the Chinese companies figure out that they can do the whole thing themselves, and do it better.
There is a lot of space left in drone industry, but mostly in niches.
1. Serious UAV for serious aerial photography. DJI still suck there, but the distance from their best offer and the nearest competitor is around $180k USD
2. Serious UAV for remote sensing. DJI simply has no offers there other than a consumer handheld ir camera screwed on to a quad
3. High performance. DJI still can't approach mid-tier amateur aerobatic brands
4. Agricultural use, chemical sprayer. DJI has something for Chinese internal market, but they get steamrolled by domestic competition.
5. High payload. DJI have nothing made specially for this niche
I understand where GoPro came from and all but I just can't get how they think they will survive with Nick Woodman.
Is this the precursor to GoPro's inevitable demise?
e: if you feel the need to down vote, please let me know why you disagree
Do they have any other business areas than drones? I never heard their name in another context.
The biggest problem I have with GoPro is price. I've lost a few cameras surfing and I'd be willing to give up quality for a concession on price.
Alternatively, if they made their product more find-able through some sort of tracking/recovery feature, I'd be happy to spend $600 on their camera.
Same type of problem with their drone, not enough features that protect the investment to make it worth the money. For instance, it isn't waterproof. That would at least give me a reason to buy it over a DJI model.