Today sees GoPro release their fourth quarter 2017 report, and it’s not looking all that great for the GoPro Karma. In the midst of reporting an $80 million loss for the quarter, GoPro has announced that they’re getting out of the drone business. There’s little mention of the 300 staff they recently laid off, but the Karma will be both the first and last drone the company produce.
Some of you might remember iPhonedo’s rather amusing comparison of the 2016 Karma vs the Mavic Pro a few months ago. At the time, he hailed it as the worst drone he’d ever flown. Now, the 2017 Karma re-issue is out, and he wanted to know if it had been improved. Aside from the fact that it’s stopped falling out of the sky, he says it does actually seem to have improved.
However, it is still the second worst drone he’s ever flown (the worst being last year’s original Karma). I think we all saw this coming, though. all they’ve done is fix the battery issue. There’s been no upgrades or added features to make it more competitive with the Mavic Pro. It’s the same old Karma, really. At the same price, too. Given the recent discounts on the Phantom 4, it’s difficult to see the Karma as a competitive option.
For a drone surrounded in so much controversy, you think they’d rename it the GoPro Drama. From long release date delays, to falling out of the sky, and the inevitable recall, it’s not had a good time. GoPro even got to the point where they were giving away free GoPro Hero5 Black action cameras to Karma owners to convince them to return them.
GoPro have now issued a press release, though, that the Karma is set to be re-released at some point during 2017. They haven’t said exactly when that’ll be yet, just that it’ll happen sometime this year.
If you’re a GoPro customer who purchased and received the Karma, you’ve probably already heard about the recall. You might, however, be hesitant to return yours if you’ve not yet had it fall out of the sky. Indeed, it may fly perfectly for you, and never show any issues. You might be happy just keeping your Karma and not bothering to get your money back.
I get the feeling that GoPro aren’t seeing as many returns as they’d hoped for. So, they are are sweetening the deal a little now. Everybody who ordered their Karma from the USA who returns their Karma to GoPro will also be getting a free GoPro Hero5 Black. Yes, that’s right, free, gratis, and for nothing.
When GoPro announced the long awaited Karma drone, their plan was to take on DJI and beat them at their own game. Well, play has been halted completely today. Due to issues with Karma drones randomly losing power, GoPro have now issued a recall. Approximately 2,500 Karma units sold since October 23rd (basically, all of the Karmas currently out there) are affected.
GoPro do say that the power loss only happened “in a very small number of cases”, and there have been no reports of injuries or property damage as a result. But, it’s still a pretty significant risk. The last thing you want is to be flying over a mountain or lake, and suddenly have your drone drop out of the sky with no warning.
This might sound like a click-baity title, but this is essentially what will happen if the current “Prototype regulations” go through. It’s difficult to know just where to begin when trying to describe how ludicrous some of these regulations are. They would essentially outlaw almost every drone currently on the market. The European Aviation Safety Authority also can’t seem to figure out the difference between drones and “model aircraft”, so they’re being pulled in as well.
In the UK and throughout Europe, right now, we have some fairly healthy drone rules which allow hobbyists a lot of freedom to pursue their hobby. The new regulations would place very impractical if not virtually impossible limitations on what and how you can fly. This video from First Person View goes through the basics of these regulations, and what they mean.
GoPro have today finally unleashed the Karma drone on the world. Originally slated for release much earlier in the year, it seemed like it may never actually happen. After a few teases over the past couple of weeks, though, GoPro seem to have made good.
Like GoPro’s cameras, the biggest feature of the Karma is its ease of use. The most notable part of that being that the arms fold in. This makes it very simple to fit into all but the tiniest of backpacks. The removable gimbal also allows you to quickly switch from using your camera on the drone to in your hand.
GoPro are officially announcing their new Karma drone on September 19th, perhaps the Hero5, too. GoPro have kept both a very closely guarded secret for months. It looks like somebody at the GoPro website got a little eager, though. For a short time, GoPro’s European websites displayed an image of a drone, a strange looking camera, and a handheld gimbal in the header.
One can only assume that these are the Karma drone and Hero5 action camera. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen hardware and software creators leak themselves. I would, however, have expected tighter controls on a product surrounded by as much secrecy as the Karma.
A teaser posted to GoPro’s YouTube suggests that the Karma Drone may finally be coming in a couple of weeks. We’ve known for a long time that GoPro were planning to release a drone. We did expect an official announcement much earlier in the year.
Now that summer’s nearing its end, GoPro might be a little late to the party. That being said, Yi Technology announced their new drone only a few days ago. So, perhaps not. They’ll have a lot to live up to, though. Many new drones releases have been made since the Karma’s initial teaser, including the DJI Phantom 4.