GoPro Announces Drones, Virtual Reality

Action camera maker, GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) announced at the Code Conference on Wednesday, that the company would be expanding into both the drone and virtual reality businesses. GoPro shares were up 7% on the news Thursday morning, trading around $57.

The virtual reality device, called the Six-Camera Spherical Array, can mount on GoPro cameras and record footage for viewing on virtual reality headsets like Oculus (NASDAQ:FB), Google Cardboard (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Microsoft Hololens (NASDAQ:MSFT). Pricing was not revealed, but CEO Nicholas Woodman said that it would be available to consumers later this year.

“It’s a no brainer” for GoPro to enter the virtual reality market, said Andrew Uerkwitz, analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. “This is a market that GoPro should be able to enter very easily.”

Alex Gauna, an analyst at JMP Securities agreed that “virtual reality is a major opportunity” for GoPro. “There is going to be tremendous market acceptance of virtual reality.”

Woodman also said that by the first half of 2016, the company will release a consumer drone product. The remote-controlled cameras would be able to capture aerial views for a more immersive video experience.

The drone business could be another big market for GoPro, if the company creates a competitive product. Chinese drone-maker, DJI, is reportedly on track to do $1 billion in drone sales this year.

GoPro’s success in the drone market will depend on if they are able to “compete against companies who have been making drones for a decade,” said Uerkwitz. But it “would be tough to bet against GoPro.”

GoPro shares are up 137% since pricing its IPO at $24 in June of last year. The company has a market cap of $7.7 billion.