Update: GoPro has launched the new Hero 5 family (Black and Session) along with the announcement of their first drone, the Karma. Read more about the announcement or check the individual products: GoPro Hero 5 Black, GoPro Hero 5 Session, GoPro Karma


Like many of our customers, we at Action Gear are also speculating over the release of the new GoPro Hero 5 & the exciting new GoPro drone named Karma. Now many of our customers phone and ask us for inside information. Everything I mention now is based on my research & knowledge of GoPro over the last 6 years. I can assure you GoPro are even more secretive than Apple Inc and I have no inside information.

Firstly lets begin with GoPro’s (NASDAQ: GPRO) performance over the last year. GoPro shares have dropped by 80% due to poorly priced product launches and new models offering no real USP to older models.  Last quarter GoPro’s sales dropped by 31% to $436.6 Million and saw a bottom line loss of $34.5 Million. Very disappointing for a game changing company such as GoPro, the inventors of the body worn camera market. I mean come on they even copied the form factor of the polaroid cube and claimed the revolutionary new form factor for themselves. The guys at GoPro are clever, consumers expect a lot more than just a ‘So small, So stoked’ Session!

So really what do GoPro have up their sleeves for 2016?

The Release date

So far its been confirmed we’ll see the release of the new Karma drone and Hero 5 Action Camera in 2016. GoPro President Tony Bates mentioned the Karma drone will arrive late June which was later corrected by GoPro CFO, Jack Lazer, hinting towards May. The GoPro Hero 5 release date looks like late October. Nick Woodman said in a recent conference call “Later this year we will introduce the most connected and convenient GoPro we have ever made, Hero 5”

The features

So what does this ‘most connected and convenient GoPro’ feature? Well firstly let me touch base on the Karma drone as this gives hints to the Hero 5 features. Earlier this year GoPro released 1440p footage from the Karma drone, in video we see freesytle skier Bobby Brown release the drone as he does a backflip. Awesome!! We now have an autonomous GoPro drone. #GoodByeLillyDrone. The autonomous feature is a given, GoPro pride themselves on simple, professional sports filming for the average guy = Be a hero. The ability for someone to go wakeboarding, surfing or snowboarding and film themselves from a 3rd party POV is a obvious feature for a GoPro drone. The biggest question right now is will GoPro continue to purchase the Ambraella chip, which their biggest drone competitor DJI use or will GoPro make a bold decision and move over to the new impressive looking Qualcomm Inc. Perhaps the new move to Qualcomm has also been reason why we haven’t seen in any new game changing product from GoPro over the last year. It’ll take them time to settle into a new chip supplier! Woodman also recently labeled the new Hero 5 as “connected” which isn’t good for Ambarella. Qualcomm recently entered the market with its mobile SoC (System on chip) and won several awards for its 4G SoC designs. Furthermore Qualcomm have also announced their Snapdragon Drone Flight board with the Snapdragon 801 SoC - quad-core 2.26GHz processor, dual band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, real time flight control systems, Global Navigation satellite system and speedy recharging. Qualcomm also mentioned the processor is powerful enough to support automated obstacle avoidance features – isn’t this just perfect for GoPro? Raj Talluri , Qualcomms SVP of product management mentioned they’ve been in talks with a company they can’t disclose for the last couple of years. Hmmmm…..GoPro…

DJI own 75% of the drone market and have a massive 70% product margin. For GoPro to compete it would make sense to move over to Qualcomm for both their drone and Action cameras in order to achieve the same economies of scale.

The Rumours

I could go on about this all for days but lets get to the real reason you read this article – the rumoured specs of the Karma & Hero 5. To get more of an idea of what we can expect from the new Hero 5 and Karma we just have to look at Qualcomms previous work and press releases. Furthermore the current GoPro spec rumours have been in line with Qualcomm’s product line so I have a sneaky suspicion I’ve hit the nail on the head here!! Oh and Brian McGee has just joined GoPro – guess where he used to work? Qualcomm!

The first drone to recently hit the market with Qualcomm’s SoC is Yuneec. Watch this video below. This is what I’m expecting from the Karma drone.



Take special note of the Typhoon Wizard remote. I have no doubt GoPro are designing something better than the Wizard remote, as I mentioned earlier this just makes too much sense for GoPro. If they don’t- this remote will elevate Yuneec’s brand for sure. It really is a great USP and game changer. Very interesting space indeed but I believe no company is better positioned to take on the drone market than GoPro. With 45 000 retail stores worldwide there’s a massive opportunity for GoPro. DJI haven’t appreciated setting up strong distribution models world wide which has only lead to poor customer service and no national marketing. GoPro know what they doing and partner with people who back their brand in terms of knowledge and service.

check out this link for more


The ‘connected’ Hero 5 is rumored to be the same form factor as the current Session camera. 3D video capturing from its dual lenses, 8K video running on a powerful A10 chip and a 2800 mAh battery. Other features would include live 4G streaming and Bluetooth Just like Woodman said connected and convenient right?!

Anyways Its early morning here at Action Gear and I need to get back to work. I could talk about this forever! If you have any questions please let us know or even tweet your questions to me @DoubleDavo


PS: I’m certainly buying some Qualcomm shares! (NASDAQ:QCOM)

David Davies

Sales Director @ActionGearSA