GoPro Loses Two-Year Battle With The Sky

The Karma is finally dead.

First announced in December of 2015, action cam company GoPro has pulled the plug on its heavily delayed, disastrous aerial photography drone, best known for its spectacular propensity for falling out of the sky. The news comes days after a report that said the company was laying off several hundred employees, most of whom were attached to its drone flight devision.

GoPro came to prominence through a smart but unsustainable salvo of first-person extreme sports videos. It bet big on the Karma - its foray into drones - to distinguish itself from less expensive competitors like Xiaomi which have been eating away at its market share for mini action cams... by pushing into the already crowded drone game dominated by heavyweights like DJI.

That plan, like so many Karma drones before it, crashed and burned.

GoPro has been financially unhealthy for some time, and according to TechCrunch, cutbacks now extend to CEO Nicholas Woodman, who has reduced his pay to $1.

(As of the time of this article's publication, a Karma can still be purchased through GoPro's website in Australia for $1,349.95)




    disastrous aerial photography drone

    That’s a bit sensationalist. I’ve owned one since April and it’s never skipped a beat. No lost connections, GPS losses or software issues. Certainly no crashes, power loss or flyaways. It’s been, and continues to be, a great platform for creating footage of me and my family doing the things we love. It’s not as strong as its competitors, sure, but like Woodman famously (cringingly) said at the launch, it’s more than just a drone. That much was true at least.

    by pushing into the already crowded drone game dominated by heavyweights like DJI

    This is the bigger problem. Whether you liked Karma or not, it at least represented some competition for DJI. I think we all hoped that future iterations would catch up with the Mavic Pro and drive innovation and improved service levels. That hope has now taken a massive hit.

    Even though I believe more competition = better for everyone, I still think there's a fair bit out there now for DJI. However, DJI is miles ahead compared to most consumer brands so other brands are trying to catch up.

    While it's unfortunate that a key player has pulled out, it's still such a young market - it will continue to grow, and the technology will be pushed more and more.

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