We heard some interesting news today about new cameras from GoPro in their Q3 earnings report. It sounds like they’ve got big plans for 2018, including one bit of news that particularly caught my eye: a new entry-level camera with a new design. This is something I’m going to be keeping my eye on, and I think GoPro is making the right choice by making a new affordable camera.
It’s Been A Rough Road For GoPro
Although GoPro essentially invented the idea of the action cam way back in 2004, they’ve had a rough couple of years recently. Their cameras have remained very competitive in features and build quality, but their business has been heavily affected by much cheaper clones from sellers in China and elsewhere. They have strong brand recognition, but they need to keep pushing forward on innovation to hold their lead.
You might have seen that GoPro released a new flagship camera recently, the Hero 6 Black. By all accounts, it’s a great camera–it has better color reproduction than previous models, and can take 1080p video at 240 frames per second for cool slow-motion shots. GoPro also included a custom-designed image processing chip in the Hero 6 Black, which could give them a significant boost in video quality over competitors. If you want a high-end action cam, it’s hard to justify looking at anything other than GoPro’s newest offering.
But most of us aren’t looking for a high-end action cam, and GoPro needs to offer something that appeals to the everyday user, too. I’m sure some of you reading this are into extreme sports, but personally I don’t do any kite surfing, rock climbing, skydiving, or water skiing. However, I do like the idea of having an action cam.
A New Camera For The Rest Of Us
Whether I’m hiking in the woods or playing frisbee at the park with friends, I like the idea of having a small, durable camera that I can use for a quick video clip or set up somewhere to record the event. These are good uses of a GoPro, but it’s hard for me to justify paying $500 for a camera that I won’t use every day or even every week.
Fortunately, it sounds like there may be some hope. In the earnings call from GoPro’s Q3 financial results, they dropped the news that they plan to release a new entry-level camera next year to replace the GoPro Session, their previous entry-level offering. The Session was a great camera and was priced competitively, but the affordable model has been hard to find. They’ve more recently released a Hero 5 Session, but at $300, it’s not quite as good of a deal.
Interestingly, the new camera is going to also going to have a new form factor that GoPro says is somehow more appropriate for the camera’s intended purpose. I’m really curious about that, because the cube-shaped Session is a great design that works well for a lot of uses. Hopefully the new design will be equally compelling.
A Cheaper, Better Camera Is An Exciting Idea
I’m hopeful about what this new camera could mean for GoPro’s success, and I’m excited to see what they release in 2018. If the new camera is good enough and cheap enough, it could put action cams into the hands of a lot of people, and I think that’d be a cool thing to see.
One of the best things about technology is that we have so many ways to create and share memories. When we were growing up, our parents had cameras but it wasn’t cheap or easy to get pictures developed and share them with others. Video technology was around, but was low-resolution and required bulky cameras with poor battery life. Things are of course a lot different now, and it’s amazing how easy it is to capture a moment and share it with friends and family around the world.
When I see new products that enable and improve that idea, I get excited. One of the reasons I’m so interested in the camera technology in new smartphones and this upcoming product from GoPro is because I can imagine the potential it has for giving us the ability to get high-definition video from the things we do every day. However extreme or mundane, we all experience moments that matter. If there’s a way to capture that moment without needing to set up a big bulky camera and configure a bunch of settings, that’s pretty cool.
We don’t have any additional details on exactly when we can expect the new camera or what its features might be, but keep an eye on the blog and we’ll post an update when we hear some news. I’m personally very interested in seeing what they release, and hopefully we’ll have a review of the new camera once it’s available for purchase. 2018 should be an exciting year if you’re a GoPro fan!