By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
GoPro’s Karma Drone is getting closer to reality and CEO Nick Woodman has given us another peak of how their cutting edge drone performs with some cool new footage, and a hint on just how advanced it really is. Meanwhile, a rocky GoPro sales report has been released, sending its stock down sharply.
“While I can’t share much prior to launch, I can say this about Karma: it works in mysterious ways and not always as you think.” – GoPro CEO Nick Woodman
While most of GoPro’s headlining X Games athletes were busy Periscoping the action during the 4-day contest, snowboarder Bobby Brown got to do something top secret: Film with GoPro’s Karma Drone. And don’t think that the video above will give you a clue as to what it looks like through the reflections in Brown’s goggles, GoPro used some digital trickery to take it out. But still, if Brown is being pulled by it, that sucker has to be pretty strong.
But once thing we do know: Karma is a 4K camera platform, according to the footage released by GoPro. And that poses an interesting question here, is Karma a drone that will carry GoPro cameras including the 4K Hero4 and Session (like the logo implies), or will it have its own built in 4K camera, much like the DJI Phantom 3?
There’s a lot we can infer from the last few videos we’ve seen, that the Karma will have many smart features including Follow me, and likely waypoint navigation for motion control flight, sure. But is there anything else?
Perhaps Nick Woodman’s vague hints above point to something even more. The clue could be staring at us right in the open, from the name Karma. Why would GoPro choose such a name, rather than stick with the Hero branding? Let’s look at the definition; Webster’s defines “Karma” as:
So, if we take the meaning here, I think we can assume that Karma is going to be very smart, and its ability to follow a subject could be through a keyfob or through connection to the subject’s mobile device, most likely, or maybe even facial recognition. Or a little bit of both.
I’m also guessing it’ll have some sort of restricted air space avoidance system, being very smart in that regard and who knows, maybe even a learning navigation system that will be able to predict what your movements will be based on where you have been, especially if – like skiers and snowboarders – you take the same router over and over.
You can also bet that users will be able to pair it with Periscope to live broadcast, as I believe that what we saw in Aspen last week was just a trial balloon, a test of its capabilities and to get the base used to the idea. Now that everyone is “Hero–scoping” I can imagine that they’ll want to do the same from the air. Genius.
And frankly, the Karma couldn’t be arriving at a better time (presumably this Spring). Today, GoPro also had to release bad news that their 4th quarter sales were abysmal, having fallen short of their expected sales goals by nearly 50%. OUCH. This, coupled with news that they were laying off staff, and CFO Jack Lazar is reported to be leaving. The result: GoPro’s stock was sent plummeting to $9.47 a share, 13.5% down.
This plunge resulted in trading being temporarily halted to give investors a chance to absorb the news, rather than react to it. And it really wasn’t all that bad once you dove into it. The sales were down, sure, and less than expected. But the GoPro’s adjusted expectation was only slightly above the total sales of $435 million. So while it wasn’t all that great, they’re still at least in the ballpark of their adjusted sales expectations. GoPro is also in very good shape, financially, with nearly a half billion in the bank and no debt.
So while Nick Woodman is dealing with some headaches right now, I still think that when he reveals Karma at NAB, and I think that’s when it will happen, everyone will be talking about it and sales will begin to climb once again. All GoPro has to do is batten down the proverbial hatches and make sure that their drone has no hiccups when it arrives.