Well, you can always count on being entertained when iPhonedo does one of his extensive tech reviews on YouTube. This time around, he tests the newly released GoPro Karma.
We all remember, of course, what happened last fall. In fact, here at TDC we kinda felt sorry for GoPro. All that hype, building up for more than a year, for the release of the Karma.
When it was finally revealed in mid-September of 2016, observers were impressed by some pretty nifty features. The arms folded up, making it easier to carry around. The clamshell remote had an integrated screen and controls the company said were highly intuitive.
But perhaps the most unique feature was that the gimbal was removable, allowing the user to hand-carry or mount their GoPro for three-axis smoothness outside of the Karma. It was a cool idea, and the product was embraced on release day. The stock, in fact, took a nice hike.
Plus, of course, GoPro already had a massive and loyal following. The company has long been the world leader in action cameras, and many of the fans of those cameras were looking forward to owning a drone made by the same company. (And, presumably, with the same quality.)
The product started shipping October 23 – with some 2,500 of the units ordered (which wasn’t really a huge number). Unfortunately, a battery connection issue caused numerous problems and led to several owners losing control. It wasn’t long before YouTube had a number of videos showing Karmas spiraling out of the sky. This wasn’t merely a minor flaw – it was a safety issue.
GoPro had to do something. And, on November 8 – the same day as the US election – it announced a recall of the product. At the time, GoPro said:
“In a very small number of cases, Karma units lost power during operation.”
GoPro offered full refunds and said it would address the issue.
Well, on February 1, GoPro announced that it was re-launching the Karma. The problems, presumably, had been fixed. A newer, better drone would soon be flying.
Of course, it didn’t take iPhonedo long to get his hands on one. When he reviewed the original last fall, he described it as the worst drone he had ever tested. It was a merciless review – and you were left almost cringing on behalf of GoPro. (The company also got hammered because DJI released the Mavic Pro about a week later – offering far more intelligent features with none of the problems.)
So, what does iPhonedo think of the new Karma? Well, it’s not pretty.
All kidding aside, this is a serious problem for GoPro and its shareholders. Around launch time, the stock buoyed to $17.15 per share. As of this moment, it’s sitting at $8.74.
As others observed, buildings drones is a difficult task. And while the Karma might have been considered quite good a couple of years ago, it unfortunately, does not have the features people have come to expect at this price point in 2017 (or 2016).
Good luck, GoPro. We hope the next model is a little more elegant, more intelligent, and has better Karma.
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