GoPro CEO Nick Woodman has confirmed long-swirling rumors that his company will tap into the fast-growing drone market, outlining plans to launch its own quadcopter in 2016. Making the announcement at the Code Conference in California on Wednesday, Woodman also spoke of a spherical six-camera array that could capture content for virtual reality applications.
As a number of popular consumer drones ship with the capacity to mount GoPro's action cameras anyway, the revelation won't be all that surprising for those keenly watching the space. And with whispers of GoPro's drone ambitions doing the rounds now for some time, an official announcement from the company was all but a formality.
"Do you guys all want GoPro to make a quadctopter?" Woodman asked the crowd. "Oh come on, do you guys want GoPro to make a quadcopter? OK, GoPro is making a quadcopter, it's official."
Woodman didn't go on to detail any information on the cost, design or specs of the quadcopter, but did say the company plans to launch it in the first half of 2016. Given that GoPro is very much a consumer-oriented company, it seems more likely its drones would be priced to compete with other popular models like DJI's Phantom series or Parrot's Bepop rather than high-end professional gear like Alta, for example.
Woodman also used the event to make public the company's plans to move into another fast-growing area of consumer technology, virtual reality. He described a device called a Six-Camera-Spherical-Array, which is to be launched in the second half of the year.
This all-seeing orb-like mount houses six Hero4s that shoot in all directions at once, with the footage then sewn together to create immersive video for use with virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Rift and Microsoft HoloLens, along with smartphones and desktop PCs.
This latest VR camera array is likely the result of the purchase of Kolor by GoPro in early May.
Sources: GoPro via Re/code, GOPRO QUADCOPTER CONFIRMED FOR 2016, WITH VIRTUAL REALITY GEAR ALSO IN SIGHT
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