GoPro Introduces its First Drone

FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

GoPro Inc. on Monday unveiled two new cameras and its first drone, launches that will test whether the action-camera maker can jump-start growth.

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GoPro presented its new flagship camera, the Hero 5 Black, destined for its core audience of extreme athletes with its two-inch touch display. Its new smaller, cube-shaped entry-level camera, the Hero 5 Session, shoots lower-resolution photos and is targeting more "regular" use cases, such as urban settings and family events. GoPro said the Hero 5 Black will sell for $399 and the Hero 5 Session will cost $299.

In a presentation at a ski resort in Squaw Valley, Calif., GoPro emphasized features that make the cameras simpler to use than previous models.

The same principle applies to the $799 drone, called Karma, which folds to fit into a backpack. GoPro cameras attach to the drone via a "stabilization" arm.

"The whole experience, for the first time, across the board, GoPro is easy," Chief Executive Nick Woodman said at the event.

Much is riding on the new products: Mr. Woodman said in July that he expects GoPro to swing back into the black with the two launches, pegged to arrive in time for the holiday shopping season.

Sales have plummeted by nearly half in recent quarters after the flop last year of its first everyman camera, the Hero 4 Session. In addition, GoPro is challenged by the increasing quality and ubiquity of smartphone cameras, such as the new dual camera on Apple Inc.'s iPhone 7 Plus.

In July, GoPro logged a quarterly loss of $91.8 million, its third consecutive loss.

Shares of GoPro, down 70% since the launch of the Session in July 2015, rose nearly 17% over the past three trading days on anticipation of the new products. Shortly after the launch Monday, shares were trading up as much as 6%.

GoPro initially set the Session's price too high last year, it said, and admitted the software was too difficult to use. As a result, it didn't reach the broader audience it was intended to attract.

The company has had a year to address those ails. GoPro has resolved some of the kinks that had made their cameras difficult to use, such as uploading photos and videos. The two new cameras automatically upload content to the cloud when plugged in. Editing software syncs images to music.

GoPro has priced the two cameras $100 apart, a differentiation the company missed last year when it introduced the entry-level Hero 4 Session at the same price as its flagship camera.

The Karma drone, meanwhile, has been on GoPro's horizon for a long time. GoPro delayed the launch of the drone from the first half of the year to "fine-tune" some of its features, Mr. Woodman said in May.

Despite the drone's long product development, investors are uncertain how much it will contribute to GoPro's bottom line. "Ultimate Karma demand remains uncertain," Brad Erickson, of Pacific Crest Securities, wrote in July.

Write to Georgia Wells at