As Omar famously said on "The Wire," you come at the king, you best not miss. When GoPro decided to get into the consumer drone market with its Karma quadcopter, it was taking aim squarely at the king of quadcopters, DJI. And it missed. Now, DJI is coming for GoPro with the release of its new Osmo Action.
I have to admit, upon DJI's announcement Wednesday of the Osmo Action, I was disappointed to see DJI was getting into the action camera market, instead of expanding its drone market to a new frontier — the ocean. DJI dropped a teaser ad a week earlier, depicting a free diver floating weightlessly underwater with the tag line, "Unleash Your Other Side."
Given that DJI is known primarily as a drone manufacturer, and given my own personal enjoyment of flying my Phantom 3 4K, my mind immediately jumped to the conclusion that DJI was preparing to unleash an underwater drone, a consumer submarine capable of going where previously only divers and scientists piloting multimillion-dollar ROVs were able to go.
I wasn't alone in that speculation, as the internet turned up numerous stories, videos, and social media posts positing that DJI might be releasing an underwater drone. It isn't far fetched, after all. There are already consumer underwater drone cameras on the market, such as the Gladius Mini Underwater ROV, from Chasing Innovation. But as the undisputed king of consumer drones, DJI jumping into underwater drone photography would have been interesting to say the least.
Instead, DJI has its sights set on the king of the action camera market. GoPro, for its part, seems to be recovering from the disastrous launch of the Karma drone, which sent the company's stock spiraling down 30 percent in 2016, when it had to recall 2,500 drones and eventually ducked out of the drone market entirely. Despite that massive downturn three years ago, GoPro has remained the gold standard of action cameras.
With a healthy lineup of drones, accessories, and other products, DJI is better positioned to risk jumping into the action camera market than GoPro was to get into drones. But brand image can be a fickle thing, and while DJI is known for top-notch consumer products, an inferior action camera would certainly hurt the company's reputation.
Fortunately, as Fstoppers colleague Ty Poland writes, the Osmo Action is cheaper than the Hero 7, has more features, and seems to be built ruggedly with quality materials. The front-facing display looks like a differentiator for DJI, as it allows action junkies to see what they're filming when setting up a selfie video. The early reviews suggest DJI has built a worthy competitor to the GoPro Hero 7.
DJI better have. They're going after the king. They best not miss.
What do you think of DJI's foray into the action camera market? Will you switch from GoPro? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think.
Lead photo and video courtesy of DJI.