GoPro is unabashed and undaunted. Despite last year’s debacle with the long-awaited Karma drone, the company tells journalists at CES that they are preparing to develop more drones.
In an interview with The Verge, GoPro’s CEO and co-founder Nick Woodman prophesied a successful relaunch of the Karma, with more versions to come. “The reception for Karma was very strong. It was unfortunate about the recall, but what we learned was that our existing customers and new customers are really excited about Karma’s value proposition,” he said. “It means that the foundation has been laid for great things to come in the Karma line.”
After many delays, the Karma was launched for the holiday buying season last year; but was quickly recalled due to an issue that caused the drone to lose power and fall out of the sky. The recall was one incident in a string of bad news for the company, including a class action lawsuit and layoffs and reorganization prompted by falling stock prices and a loss of profitability.
But the once high-flying company, which still holds a leading name in the sports photography niche, promises a comeback. In July of this year, Fortune reported Woodman as saying that profitability was “just around the corner” as they anticipated large sales of the Hero 5 camera and the Karma. The Karma is expected to be relaunched soon, after fixing what Woodman explains was really a minor issue involving the connector for the battery. He describes the problem as an uncomplicated “mechanical issue,” saying that in a small number of cases, flight vibration simply jarred the battery very slightly out of the connector, causing the drone to lose power. And following the relaunch of the first Karma, the company plans to expand the line.
As GoPro counts on drones to put the company back on top, competition in the space is ever increasing. But in the niche of sports photography, GoPro is still the leading name – an advantage that they are counting on drone operators to remember.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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