GoPro Inc (NASDAQ:GPRO) just wrapped up a much-anticipated special event where it unveiled several key product releases: the GoPro Hero 5 Black, Hero 5 Session and the long-awaited Karma drone.
GoPro shares sailed heading into today’s event, climbing 15% in just a week’s worth of trading. GPRO began to trim Monday’s gains shortly after the event, and now Wall Street appears to be trying to figure out exactly what to make of the new products.
Here’s what we know:
GoPro Hero5 Black
It’s been a long time since GoPro introduced a new flagship action camera –two years, to be exact. Today, CEO Nick Woodman rectified that by showing off the new GoPro Hero5 Black — the successor to 2014’s Hero4.
Key technical specs for the Hero5 Black include:
- 4K video at 30fps
- 12MP still photos with RAW support
- Stereo microphones
- Voice control for hands-free operation
- 2-inch touchscreen display with onscreen editing
- Rugged build, including waterproof to 33 feet
- One-button camera control
- Advanced digital video stabilization
- Optional cloud connectivity with automatic photo and video uploads to new GoPro Plus service at $4.99 per month
That GoPro Plus service is worth noting. If GPRO can convince its customers to use it for backing up and uploading their footage, it gains a valuable recurring revenue stream.
GoPro Hero5 Session
GoPro also announced the Hero 5 Session. The tiny successor to the Hero4 Session keeps the same ultra-compact cube form factor, but adds key improvements from the Hero5, including the waterproof rating, voice control and 4K video capability. However, the less expensive Hero 5 Session lacks advanced features like the GPS, and photos are capped at 10MP with no RAW support.
The new GoPro cameras are available Oct. 2, priced at $399.99 (Hero 5 Black) and $299.99 (Hero 5 Session).
While the new action cameras are key to reviving GPRO’s flagging sales and eroding stock price, the new Karma drone is critical, too.
It shows GoPro can expand beyond a single product line, fights back against drone makers like DJI that have been developing their own drone-mounted action cameras, and it’s a flashy piece of technology for consumers.
GoPro CEO Nick Woodman was exuberant as he opened up a case to unfold the new Karma drone.
The drone’s relatively small size and ultra-compact, folding design give the Karma a leg up against established competition. Most high-end quadcopter models are big, bulky and require a special case to transport. Despite being a capable drone (not a mini version), the GoPro Karma will fit in a backpack. Its controller is a simplified two-joystick design with a built-in touchscreen — also designed to be more consumer-friendly instead of appealing primarily to drone enthusiasts.
Another design difference introduced with the Karma is a nose-mounted stabilized gimbal. It’s a three-axis model that’s compatible with Hero5 or Hero4 series cameras. The entire gimbal can be removed and attached to an included Karma Grip for shooting handheld, stabilized video.
GoPro is offering package prices with a Hero 5 or Hero 5 session included, and is undercutting the price of DJI’s Phantom 4 drone by a considerable margin.
Given that the Karma also includes that removable Karma Grip (standalone hand-held image stabilizers fetch several hundred dollars) and can be used with an existing Hero 4 camera, GPRO stands a good chance of scooping up some drone shoppers this Christmas.
The Karma drone starts at $799.99 and arrives on Oct. 23.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.