Thursday, 27 November 2014 13:14

Report: GoPro to parrot Parrot and make drones Featured

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Parrot's AR.Drone 2.0 Parrot's AR.Drone 2.0

HD camera specialist GoPro is under attack by a range of sports camera makers, including HTC with its RE camera, so to diversify, it is getting into consumer drones to on the market in late 2015, according to a news report.

Drones. They’re not just male bees, but usually a quadcopter with four or even more blades to keep a drone aloft.

They’re available in consumer form, with consumer electronics company Parrot having done much to popularise drones with it AR.Drone series, although we all know the military has vastly more advanced and armed drones it uses to eliminate insurgents from the skies, without putting pilots at risk.

Drones are also used by emergency services, with an article we wrote back in 2011 looking what was to then cost $27,000 for a ’Cyberquad’ drone/unmanned aerial vehicle to be used by the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

The latest report on where GoPro will go next comes from the Wall St Journal (paywalled link) which suggests GoPro is looking to ‘expand from its core business’ catering to camera-wearing ‘sports enthusiasts’.

Given the booming competition in the wearable action camera space with even companies like Kogan getting in on the action, it just makes sense for GoPro to tap other areas of consumer interest - especially if they make use of existing GoPro technologies, as any camera-equipped drone from GoPro would offer.

But is GoPro going to be too late to the party, especially if it doesn’t intend having its drones on the market until late 2015?

After all, there are even camera-equipped wrist-wearable drones these days, with ‘Nixie’ (Youtube video here) selected as the $500,000 winner of Intel’s ‘Make It Wearable’ challenge.

The WSJ itself reports on the world’s biggest drone maker, ‘SZ DJI Technology Co’ in China, which has put its own cameras into its drones.

Meanwhile, drones are being developed by Amazon, they’re being used to deliver goods in select places well ahead of Amazon’s developments, there are concerns with the US FAA over drone flight paths, there are toy drones being sold in shopping centres and of course Parrot is making plenty of drones of its own.

GoPro seems to be on a bit of an innovation go-slow if it’s only just getting into drones now.

It would have been far better if GoPro had announced a brand new drone for sale NOW, for sale today. But instead it is talking late next year.

It may well be too late to join the party of yet another drone maker droning on about how wonderful drones are.

If GoPro fluffs this effort, the question will then be what GoPro will get into next, but if it doesn’t get its act together soon with drones or something else, GoPro may well end up forgotten as but a GoAmateur.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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