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GoPro Launches Fusion 360-Degree Camera

GoPro Inc's founder and CEO Woodman holds a GoPro camera as he celebrates GoPro Inc's IPO at the Nasdaq Market Site in New YorkGoPro Inc's founder and CEO Woodman holds a GoPro camera as he celebrates GoPro Inc's IPO at the Nasdaq Market Site in New York
GoPro CEO Nick Woodman Photograph by Mike Segar — Reuters

“The future doesn’t yet exist.”

That’s how Nick Woodman, founder and CEO of action camera maker GoPro, kicked off his company’s stunt-filled launch event in San Francisco Thursday morning.

The company announced several new products at the launch, including its much-awaited Fusion 360-degree camera that can be used for both shooting virtual reality and capturing “traditional” footage. According to Woodman, Fusion’s most exciting feature is “overcapture,” which lets users reconstruct specific images snapped with the 360-degree camera using the GoPro app. It also comes with “gimbal-like” stabilization for clear shots.

Not so stable? GoPro’s business. Despite the excitement for Fusion, the company hasn’t exactly had a smooth trajectory in recent years. Sales took a beating for several quarters in a row after a series of delays and production issues. Layoffs ensued. In August, though, GoPro reported a smaller-than-expected loss in its second quarter. And Woodman recently said he expects that the company will be profitable on an adjusted basis in the third quarter of this year.

A lot rides on the new devices announced today. For GoPro to really turn the corner, it will need more than just one 360-degree camera, which is now available for pre-order for $700 (it will officially be out in November).

Woodman also unveiled an updated version of the company’s flagship Hero5 camera, called the—you guessed it—Hero6. The new device is available now for $500 and comes with “ultra HD” (that means it’s better than just regular old HD), is compatible with faster Wi-Fi networks and, interestingly, come with a GoPro-designed processor that the company says improves picture quality. “Hero6 is a whole new game, and it’s a whole new GoPro,” said Woodman.

The CEO also announced an update to GoPro’s Karma drone, which originally launched last year before being recalled because some units were prone to losing power while in operation. It’s not an entirely new device, but rather a “firmware” update that enables users to put the drone in “follow me” mode, meaning it automatically flies over them and captures footage as they’re hurtling down Mount Everest on skis, or, more realistically, throwing a frisbee around in their backyard.

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Woodman, the always-enthusiastic salesmen, peppered the event with footage of athletes (and his kids) using the GoPro in all sorts of fantastical ways. Like his opening, his closing also tried to appeal to the inner surfer in us all: “Life happens fast, and we want to help you share your radness,” said the eternal “GoBro.”