Ahead of the release of the GoPro Hero 5, a key analyst has been outlining his belief regarding what will be included in the flagship action camera. The GoPro Hero 5 will play a critical role in the immediate future of GoPro, with the consumer electronics manufacturer having suffered somewhat in the market recently.
Longbow Research’s Joe Wittine is optimistic about the financial prospects of the company, though, suggesting that a combination of the forthcoming GoPro Hero 5 and the Karma drone could help return the company to profitability and a bullish market sentiment in the foreseeable future. Early reports on the GoPro Hero 5 have suggested that the action camera will collaborate strongly with this new drone.
Wittine believes that the Karma drone could play a major role in the future of the company, but is cautious about its prospects as well, as “handicapping the odds of success is very tricky today without visibility into the 2H product set.”
GoPro Hero 5 – 8K resolution
However, it is Wittine’s predictions about the makeup of the GoPro Hero 5 which will be of most interest to fans of the action camera range. He firstly suggests that there will be significant resolution improvement included in the action camera, although Wittine is sceptical that an increase to 8K resolution, as has been widely mooted, is it really necessary.
One can understand the opinion of the analyst in this respect, as 8K resolution is certainly not part of the mainstream consumer electronics climate as of yet. Nonetheless, in the long term, 8K will probably establish itself as a significant part of the consumer electronics landscape, so it may be wise for GoPro to future proof the GoPro Hero 5 by including it now. Wittine indeed believes that this is likely.
Battery life and storage
The battery life and storage of the GoPro Hero 5 is also likely to be improved in the forthcoming generation, in order to make the camera more convenient for users. These are the sort of minor spec upgrades which are expected with any new generation action camera, and the GoPro Hero 5 should not disappoint in this department.
However, Wittine also suggested that the GoPro Hero 5 will include full waterproofing, thus negating the need for the add-on housing which is part of the GoPro Hero Silver and Black cameras. GoPro is thought to be targeting both professional athletes and filmmakers, and those keen to film underwater in an amateur capacity with this feature.
Although this feature has been predicted previously, this is the first time that a major analyst has come forward and suggested that waterproofing will indeed be a major part of the GoPro Hero 5. We must therefore take the opinion of Wittine seriously, and those looking for a more durable action camera in the coming 12 months could certainly do worse than opting for the GoPro Hero 5.
One interesting aspect of this waterproofing is that Wittine suggests that many consumers may not realise that the waterproof housing is removable. This may not seem to be a particularly big deal, after all why would consumers wish to remove one of the selling points of the device? But there are question marks over whether or not it will be possible to swap batteries out of the camera easily if the native waterproofing and housing required in order to deliver this function is part of the GoPro Hero 5 package.
This is an interesting point raised by the analyst, and something that GoPro must consider when it ultimately releases the GoPro Hero 5. It would be advizable for GoPro to really communicate the advantages of the camera, and the way that it operates, with clarity to consumers.
Contemporary user experience
Wittine also believes that central to the GoPro Hero 5 will be a contemporary user experience intended intended to ensure that the action camera is more enjoyable and user-friendly. This will be centered around a more automated uploading process, with analysts noting that cables are still required to connect the GoPro range to PC desktops currently.
Full compatibility with the new suite of editing applications produced by GoPro is also anticipated, meaning that even amateur users of the GoPro Hero 5 will be able to achieve professional results. However, the analyst believes that the updates will not be enough in themselves to incentivize existing users to upgrade to the GoPro Hero 5, nor to coerce mainstream consumers to supplement smartphone video capture with an action camera solution.
Indeed, Wittine asserts that “GoPro will have a difficult time expanding to mainstream consumers that do not participate in action sports, and notes that “most of the customers that buy Session are people who own a GoPro already.” This sort of issue is always a challenge for consumer electronics manufacturers, in what is an increasingly fragmented and competitive marketplace. It is difficult for many large companies to attract consumers in this day and age, and GoPro will be faced with this conundrum as it attempts to make a success of the GoPro Hero 5.
Wittine has more positive sentiments to offer with regard to the GoPro Hero 5, suggesting that “discussions with the UAV / Drone channel were more upbeat on GoPro’s drone opportunity, than investors appear to be.” The analyst also suggest that GoPro is actually well-placed to make the GoPro Hero 5 a success in some respects. “The market is still growing and far from saturation, and GoPro should be able to leverage its strong brand awareness and fully formed distribution channels as an advantage in a fragmented market behind industry,” Wittine opines.
After a rather troubling period for the company, in which its stock price has slumped quite significantly, there is no doubt that GoPro needs some good news rather rapidly. GoPro will be hopeful that the GoPro Hero 5 can deliver excellent sales figures, and once more convince investors that the company is heading in the right direction.