GoPro needs the drone sales to help boost its revenue
The company declined to elaborate on this point, but it is serious enough that all existing models will presumably be scrapped or rebuilt. Owners can return their Karmas for a refund, but not replacement models.
Both sales and exchanges for the model are on hold.
The Karma is GoPro’s first drone, debuting on October 26 for $799. Though 2,500 have been sold, Market Watch notes that the company is still reliant on its traditional cameras for revenue, so the fiscal impact won’t be too severe. It will, though, hurt the company as it looks to compete with DJI’s offerings and beyond just offering stand-alone, mountable cameras. While GoPro’s Hero5 camera is the market leader in this respect for quality, WIRED notes that DJI’s Mavic Pro or Phantom series camera drones are easier to fly and have better range.
The Karma, unlike some competing drones, does not have follow-me or obstacle avoidance capabilities, but is easily carried due to its design and can be shared around with friends and family on its iOS Passenger app. It has the advantage of the camera being switchable, and also removable for use on another mount.
This camera, the advanced Hero5, has suffered from manufacturing problems and delays of its own, though these are not related to the power issue. Hero5 cameras are available as a stand-alone for $399, and lets user record video in 4K resolution and upload content to the company’s cloud server.
News of the recall, alongside the aforementioned Hero5 issues, has impacted the company’s stock price. Earnings also have fallen, by about 40% from last year at this time. Other wearable companies have suffered fiscally this year, such as Fitbit, over concerns the market is becoming saturated and plateauing out.