The new shape is similar to a product released by Polaroid last year, and could signal a new GoPro product aimed at casual consumers rather than daredevil extreme sports enthusiasts. A cheaper line of cameras could compete with devices from rivals Sony, Polaroid and Xiaomi, writes Ryan Mac for Forbes.
A desire to diversify
Although reported 2014 sales of almost $1.4 billion were an increase of 41.5% over the previous year, GoPro is trying to market its cameras to everyday people as well as those who participate in niche sports. The company shipped 5.18 million cameras in 2014, a marked increase from 3.85 million in 2013.
“We are always looking at new innovations and new designs to help consumers to capture important moments,” said GoPro spokesperson Lara Sasken.
The patent has been pending since January 2014, and is titled “Camera housing for a square-profile camera.” The patent is for the housing of a cube-camera whose design is similar to Polaroid’s “Cube,” which launched last year for $99. That makes it $300 cheaper than GoPro’s Hero Silver 4 edition.
A Polaroid spokesman refused to comment on the new GoPro patent.
Will GoPro ever manufacture a square-profile camera?
A new form factor would be the first that the company has introduced since 2006. All of the company’s products have had the same rectangular shape since CEO Nick Woodman began selling video cameras instead of 35-millimeter devices.
The Polaroid Cube received decent reviews, and users liked its design, simplicity and size. Industry publications were not so impressed by its mounting ability, which relied on a magnet. GoPro is the perfect company to improve on the mounting ability of square cameras, having made a name for itself with innovative mounts for its cameras, which can be seen recording footage while fixed on helmets, cars and surfboards, among other objects.
The patent does not necessarily mean that GoPro is working on a camera with a square profile, because companies regularly file patents without actually making the goods. “We file patents to protect our technology and our [intellectual property],” said Sasken. “We always have a number of ideas.”