2016 has unquestionably being a massively challenging year for GoPro, and investors in the company will be hoping that the forthcoming GoPro Hero 5 moves the fortune of the company back in the right direction.
Nonetheless, there have been some recent minor crumbs of comfort for GoPro, with the corporation having recorded Q3 revenue figures that were better than expected. This led to a small rally in the share price of the company, certainly very welcome considering the hammering that GoPro stock has taken recently.
It certainly hasn’t all been good news for GoPro over the last week or so, as the company has also had to announce that it is delaying its Karma drone until the busy holiday season. GoPro has already confirmed that it is tweaking the drone product in order to ensure that it is indeed “much more than a drone.” What precisely this means remains to be seen, but the verdict of the city was rather withering, and the gains made by the company were quickly wiped out.
The city remains skeptical that the action camera manufacturer can deliver the sort of sales forecast that it has made previously. This will now be even more challenging for GoPro to deliver following the news that the drone will seemingly be significantly delayed. With the GoPro Hero 5 due to launch in the second half of 2016, there will now be massive pressure on the company to deliver over the Christmas period.
Many market analysts are skeptical that GoPro will ultimately be able to deliver the revenue forecast that it made for the existing fiscal year, which GoPro continues to leave untouched at a range of $1.35 billion to $1.5 billion. Chief Executive Nick Woodman was forced to field many questions recently on the subject of the drone aircraft and the potential sales figures of GoPro in the calendar year, and responded that investors were approaching the subject from the wrong direction.
“Most of the revenue has been second half,” Woodman asserted. “Quite frankly, that’s the way you need to look at it.”
Nonetheless, the GoPro Hero 5 will enter a market that is increasingly challenging and saturated. Sales of the GoPro Hero4 Session have not particularly impressed recently, and there is no doubt that GoPro will have to achieve outstanding, and possibly unexpected, sales figures with the GoPro Hero 5 if it is to meet his own revenue projections.
It is certainly not unreasonable for the market to be skeptical about the potential of GoPro. The company must sell a large number of units in a small timeframe, and these will mostly be of devices that are yet to be introduced into the marketplace. It has a considerable distance to go in order to meet its own forecast, and beating last year’s holiday performance will be far from easy for the camera manufacturer.
Thus, considering the market pressure on GoPro, it is not at all surprising that reports are indicating that the action camera will launch sooner rather than later. The GoPro Hero 5 will be very much the jewel in the crown of the corporation’s 2015 product range, and the notion, as was suggested at one time, that the action camera could be delayed until 2017 now seems to be extremely unlikely. GoPro simply faces too much commercial pressure not to release the device in 2016.
GoPro has recently engaged in aggressive advertising campaigns for its existing products, as it attempts to reinforce its position at the head of the action camera niche. But this won’t detract attention away from the fact that the action camera manufacturer is struggling to convince consumers to shell out for its existing devices.
GoPro is not the biggest fish in the consumer electronics market place to experience difficulties recently, with Apple also confirming that it expects to shift less iPhone units in 2016 than the previous calendar year. There is certainly no easy niche with which to be involved in the contemporary consumer electronics marketplace, and GoPro is thus understandably being challenged by alternatives to its products manufactured by the likes of Sony, HTC and Mobius.
Thus, GoPro is expected to hugely step up the capabilities of the GoPro Hero 5 when it is released, and the build of the device will also be altered significantly. This will be a smaller and lighter action camera than previous iterations of the GoPro Hero series, and much of the delay in releasing the camera has been attributed to perfecting the capabilities of the camera within this sleeker design.
GoPro Hero 5 features
Although there have been difficulties for GoPro with regard to the manufacturing and ultimate release of its forthcoming drone, the action camera is also expected to feature significant drone compatibility. The GoPro drone was expected to be autonomous even before the company announced that it would ultimately be more than just a drone, so one can only speculate regarding what impressive capabilities the device will ultimately possess.
Aside from these headline aspects of the GoPro Hero 5, the action camera is also expected to be significantly more waterproof. Capable of shooting at a depth of 60 meters, it is anticipated that the action camera will appeal to both commercial divers and keen amateurs. 8K shooting has also been linked with the GoPro Hero 5, while the extremely popular dual-lens technology will also be incorporated according to reports.
Other improvements will focus on an increase of battery life, improved bluetooth and chipset hardware, while the CEO of GoPro has already indicated that this will be a particularly connectible action camera. Perhaps it is here that we can gain clues to what the company means by the drone being more than a drone, with GoPro seemingly building an innovative collaboration between the GoPro Hero 5 and its other product.
All in all, the GoPro Hero 5 does look like an exciting release and a massive improvement over the previous iteration of the series, but it will need to deliver something outstanding if the company is to get back on track in the market.