GoPro Inc (NASDAQ:GPRO) has become almost synonymous with action cameras. It has captured more than 90% of the action camera market. GoPro wants to become a media company to create a strong ecosystem and thwart off the future competition. But there are a few emerging competitors that could challenge GoPro going forward, through higher quality devices or lower prices.
Panasonic, HTC jump in against GoPro
Investors have been concerned about the potential competition. The launch of $129 Hero in the fall partially confirmed investors’ fears. The four companies that pose a threat to GoPro’s dominance are Sony, HTC, Panasonic and Garmin. Panasonic has already launched its 4K action camera called HX-A500. It comes with 25fps resolution, up to 10 feet of water resistance, 8.3MP camera, and 160 minutes of record time.
The HX-A500 costs only $350, compared to GoPro Hero4 Black, which costs $500. Both action cams are designed for the hardcore enthusiasts. Though it comes at a premium price, Hero4 Black tops HX-A500 in most technical aspects. Panasonic doesn’t seem to be fully dedicated to action cameras yet. According to The Motley Fool, cameras are just a small part of its AVC Networks business.
HTC has jumped into the action camera segment with its RE camera. It connects wirelessly to a smartphone, letting you quickly capture videos or shoot images without pulling out your smartphone. However, RE isn’t as sturdy as GoPro cameras. It costs $200, on par with the mid-tier Hero3, but can take much better videos and images. RE or its successors could eat into the market share of GoPro.
Garmin remains committed to action cameras
Garmin’s Virb Elite is comparable to GoPro’s Hero3+ Silver. This rugged and waterproof camera can capture digital photos and 1080p videos, but hasn’t been as successful as GoPro cameras. Garmin CEO Clifton Pemble remains committed to the action camera market, and the company will continue to invest in this segment. Further, the company’s expertise in GPS and small electronics products could help it challenge GoPro.
Sony has launched AS100V action camera, which is on par with the Hero3+ Black. Sony’s camera also includes NFC technology and GPS. The AS100V has been praised by reviewers, but has failed to attract much attention. Sony launched it in the first half of this year, so its successor may arrive soon to close the gap with GoPro.
GoPro shares jumped 2.28% to $59.60 in early trading Wednesday.