This is a big deal. GoPro is developing its own line of drones, which should launch in 2015 with prices between $500 and $1000, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
There has really been no mass market competitor for DJI on the consumer side (maybe Parrot on the low end) and this could really be the death knell for the Phantom line without some quick adjustments to features and/or price – if GoPro hits the ground running as hard as they do with their cameras.
GoPro is a publicly-traded company now. As such, it needs to continue to grow. The action camera market is still expanding and GoPro is still at the top of the food chain. Although, Sony and other manufactures are attempting to root their way in.
The drone market is not occupied by any major manufacturers. It’s an market still in its infancy and one that GoPro, with its rabid fan base and aggressive marketing, could dominate. An aggressive move into the drone market could be a huge boom for business if the FAA’s limitations don’t get in the way.
Of course, the development of the GoPro drone is reported as one for consumers, which may mean the devices are crafted in such a way as to limit the capabilities and lessen the attention GoPro drones receive from the FAA.
The WSJ report suggests that other drone manufacturers could stop support GoPro devices if GoPro enters the market in direct competition. I can’t imagine a better way to kill your business than dropping support for the most popular aerial camera in the world.