GoPro’s drone flying days have come to an end

The GoPro Karma was one of the most anticipated GoPro products in recent times. At the time of launch, it stood out for having a foldable form factor which made it super portable to carry around. On top of that, the gimbal also doubles up as a standalone handheld stabiliser for your GoPro camera.

Unfortunately, after less than two years, GoPro is pulling the plug on the Karma and they are exiting the drone business for good.

In their Q4 2017 quarterly announcement, GoPro has said that the aerial market is untenable due to extreme competition and hostile regulatory in the US and Europe. Because of these challenges, GoPro will quit the drone market after they have disposed remaining Karma inventory. For those who have bought a Karma, GoPro will still continue to provide service and support.

Things aren’t looking good for GoPro as a whole as revenue had dropped by almost 40% in Q4 to US$340 million as compared to the same period in 2016 and its stocks have fallen about 30% after its quarterly announcement. The company will be slashing 20% of its workforce to less than 1,000 employees worldwide, while its CEO will be getting a pay cut to just US$1 for 2018. GoPro is also said to be considering to put itself on sale.

The GoPro Karma had faced several hurdles in its short lifespan. Just a week after its introduction, its rival, DJI, had introduced their portable Mavic Pro which is even smaller and it comes with obstacle avoidance and advanced subject tracking.

To make matters worse, the GoPro Karma was recalled two months later as some units were reported to lose power mid-flight. Eventually, the problem was fixed and the Karma was put back on sale. The drone was made available in Malaysia in May last year with the retail price of RM5,999. To increase sales of its GoPro lineup, they had recently lowered the price of its top of the line HERO6 Black. It’s now going for RM1,849, which is RM550 off from its original launch price.


Alexander Wong