Many people know GoPro as the extreme camera company that allows you to strap a camera to your head, car, bike, plane, car or whatever you can stick it to and enjoy amazing footage. GoPro has a pretty impressive YouTube channel with countless videos that show off the extreme sports and cool things you can record with a GoPro (or 2, or 3, or 4 …). They also pioneered an impressive (and affordable) bullet time-like rig with about 20 cameras that allows you to do some really impressive things with their cameras for far cheaper than any other camera out there. This innovative capability and relative affordability has made GoPro what it is today, incredibly popular and very consumer friendly. Their ability to integrate mobile technology with their mobile app further makes their camera more consumer friendly, the app allows you to preview photos and video without actually having to look at the footage on the camera. The video below is a 30 camera rig.
The great thing that GoPro has going for them is that virtually every extreme sport professional in existence utilizes their cameras and by extension anyone wanting to record their experiences does the same thing. I think that nearly every Red Bull sponsored athlete ends up using a GoPro at least once or twice in their career (probably a severe underestimation).
Getting back to the company itself, they recently released their GoPro Hero 3+ which is a very incremental improvement over the GoPro Hero 3, even though many were expecting a GoPro Hero 4K with the SoC vendor that GoPro uses already being capable of 4K video at 30 FPS. Currently, the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition and the GoPro Hero 3+ are capable of 4K at 15 FPS, this is great for time lapses but is basically useless for video. As such, many people are hoping for a GoPro 4K camera at the affordable GoPro price of $399 or less (depending on the version).
A lot of people were a little disappointed that GoPro didn’t announce it when they usually announce a new camera (around October) and that they didn’t announce it at CES either. Well, it seems like we now know why they didn’t. Because the company is preparing for an IPO and it would be logical to announce what could be their greatest product (and possibly best selling) after an IPO. They hired away former Qualcomm Atheros executive, Jack Lazar, to be their CFO on Tuesday of last week and then announced their intent to go public on that Friday. This would mean that we can finally expect to see the company to go public this year and that they will probably release the GoPro 4K shortly after that. In the company’s filings we will likely see mentions of that new camera or allusions to it, which will further feed the rumor mill.
GoPro’s move with the Hero 3+ is not a bad one either, because they resolved a lot of issues that people had with the GoPro Hero 3, namely low-light performance and battery life. Both of which will be important once they move over to a higher resolution. Hopefully, though, we will see the new GoPro Hero 4K this year and the company will bring 4K into a new price segment altogether.