GoPro has had a challenging financial time recently, following a slump in the share price of the business in 2015. Among the problems that the Electronics corporation has had to deal with is the perception that its product line is bloated and confusing. With this in mind, it is clear that GoPro has been considering this internally, as the company has decided to trim its camera range to just three models.

Eliminating numerous GoPro Hero units, from now on the GoPro range will be focused on the Hero 4 Session, Silver and Black, as well as the forthcoming GoPro Hero 5. And there has also been some breaking news regarding this next generation action camera, which suggests that it will be an extremely significant device release.

GoPro Confirms 'Connected' Hero 5

GoPro slims down product range

As it stands at present, the GoPro Hero lineup includes three Hero models; the Hero, Hero+ and Hero+ LCD. While choice can be the byword of many industries, it is generally considered that choosing the right camera from these options can be confusing, despite the fact that they are essentially intended to be cheaper options. GoPro has experienced problems with pricing its devices at appropriate points, and it was considered particularly confusing when the Hero4 Session launched at the same price as the Hero4 Silver, but with significantly more limited functionality.

Speaking on the subject of the GoPro Hero 5, GoPro CEO Nick Woodman claimed that the next action camera from the corporation will be “the most connected and convenient GoPro ever made. Hero5.” This product has been anticipated for some time, and now it seems that it is finally ready to enter the marketplace. And that this will lead to the entry-level GoPro Hero line being axed for good in April, with its replacement apparently ready to arrive later this year.

Woodman was speaking at the latest earnings call of the company, no doubt acutely aware that the trend of the company’s stock needs to head in a healthy direction rather rapidly. The share price of GoPro has declined spectacularly over the last few months, and the highs of earlier in 2015 now seem like something of a pipe dream.

GoPro Hero 5

The CEO of the company was keen to outline some of the new features that will form the portfolio of its GoPro Hero 5. Firstly, Woodman explained how the GoPro Hero 5 will include an entirely new video editing experience, enabling users to make video edits in a matter of minutes that are of extremely high quality. This is a problem that the company had been attempting to address for some time, and the news that it has finally been accomplished will be excellent news for fans of the action camera series.

With GoPro having launched an awards program, there is no greater incentive for users to upload and share better GoPro videos than with this new technology being in place. Woodman also announced that both the new cameras and software that form the overall GoPro Hero 5 package will be prepared out of the box for forthcoming cloud services. The desktop content management application that GoPro has been working on is now slated for release in March, well ahead of the proposed unveiling of the GoPro Hero 5. In addition, the company has also confirmed that it plans to continue with the session model.

GoPro has confirmed that new desktop software will be released in March. Commenting on the subject, Woodman was keen to emphasize that consumers would be able to break away from the “inconvenience of manually offloading and accessing and editing their content”. The CEO went on to explain the advantages of this system. “GoPro for desktop represents a breakthrough in convenient offload, access and editing of GoPro content. It provides tools to easily sort large amounts of footage as well as trim and share directly to Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms.”

GoPro Hero 5 – Connection emphasis

The ethos of the GoPro Hero 5 is that it will be connected and convenient, a combination that will doubtless appeal to fans of the action camera niche. It remains to be seen precisely what is meant by connected, but clearly the cloud-based nature of the GoPro Hero 5 will play a major role in its feature set. But Woodman did elaborate on GoPro’s plans for the device.

“GoPro as we have known it today has resonated with our core customer, who wants the solution so badly that they are willing to deal with the inconvenience of manually offloading and accessing and editing their content. But we are self-aware and we’re willing to acknowledge that experience is too difficult for the mass market consumer, today.”

Drone technology ready to go

As well as the GoPro Hero 5 and the other new products announced by the corporation, it is also clear that the drone and virtual reality camera rig trumpeted by the corporation will be available by summer. Woodman indicated that this technology would be a significant departure from other products in this particular niche. “We’re seeking to be extremely differentiated from what existing drone companies are offering in the marketplace…they have their approach, and we have ours,” Woodman commented.

Virtual reality is expected to become a mainstream technology in the coming years, and 2016 could be an extremely important year for VR with the likes of the PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift video games products being released. Clearly GoPro believes that this could be a profitable marketplace for the company, it will be interesting to see what these new products from the action camera producer turn out, particularly as they could accompany the 4K compliant GoPro Hero 5.

According to GoPro itself, the corporation has now shifted over 20 million cameras. This is no mean achievement for a company that was set up with relatively modest ambitions. But although the GoPro story has been one of success thus far, it is essential for the GoPro Hero 5 to deliver something outstanding for the company when it hits the stores later this year.