“GoPro to Resume Sale of Karma”… But When?
Today, at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, GoPro announced that it would soon be resuming sales of the GoPro Karma drone. Pulled from the shelves early last November, the GoPro Karma was taken out of circulation to due battery failures that were causing Karma to drop out of the sky in mid flight.
Although today’s announcement is headline worthy, there isn’t much meat to it. The company said that it would be testing for the next month and then releasing more details next month. Call us cynics, but this glaring lack of a hard date from GoPro isn’t exactly firing up our propellers.
Testing this month… details next month. That’s tough to tell if GoPro has even gotten to the root of the cause yet. But at this point, GoPro has already missed the 2016 holiday madness so there isn’t a huge rush to get back to market unless they are absolutely sure everything is working like it should.
On the other hand, even 6 months is nearly a lifetime in the drone world. Every year new competitors are arriving to the show and the seemingly unstoppable DJI continues to churn out drones faster than Apple and the iPhone.
We Can’t See the Future, But…
We will continue to keep you guys posted as we hear more, however we won’t be holding our breath. It’s looking like a realistic re-launch could be somewhere around April or May. Why is that? As people who have worked in and around the drone industry for years, it’s pretty clear to see that a problem this big (falling out of the sky) will take a while to resolve. GoPro will need:
- At least a couple months of QA to test and see if the battery issue is truly solved. You’d have to assume that the 2016’s QA team got scrapped for a screw up this big, so building a new QA team and giving them a chance to do their job will take a while.
- A couple months (or more) to implement whatever fixes they came up with on existing units. From here they’ll undergo another quick QA round, repackaging, and put in place for distribution.
- From here, Karma sales could probably resume.
GoPro will probably have been hesitant to ramp up production until they were sure everything was fixed, so when sales do resume it will probably be a limited release like we saw in October.
With these huge delays at GoPro’s first crack at the drone game, it may do the the action camera good to take its learnings, cut its losses, and focus its attention on the next iteration of the Karma. The initial awe of Karma may have already worn off.
On the bright side for GoPro, Amazon just pushed back the release of the DJI Mavic, yet again, until February 10th.