The latest news from GoPro shows the company making rapid headway in two areas of enormous interest to action cam enthusiasts: virtual reality and drones. In an announcement made at the Code Conference, CEO Nick Woodman said the company is planning to release a camera-equipped quadcopter in 2016.
Also announced were GoPro’s impending plans to capitalize on its recent acquisition of French virtual reality company Kolor by bringing a six-camera spherical array to market before the end of 2015.
Although nobody has suggested yet that these two products may eventually be combined to create a VR drone, the timing of both announcements could indicate something in the works further down the line. Pricing for the DSLR-class VR cam is predicted to be in the $1500 – $2000 range, and rumor has it that GoPro is hoping to price its drone between $500 and $1000.
Meanwhile, GoPro is also working on a separate 16-camera spherical array in partnership with Google – an array intended for use with the latter’s VR platform Jump, which will be available this summer to a beta group of select creators. Google’s plans are to make its Jump technology adaptable to Expeditions, which is yet another VR initiative aimed at educators and their students.
In other GoPro news, this month will see the release of the Hero+ LCD – a revamping of last year’s stripped down Hero, with an added touchscreen LCD (hence the name). A feature formerly exclusive to the Hero 4 Silver, the LCD enables simpler shot setup and menu navigation than is otherwise achievable using the GoPro app. It’s also the first GoPro to offer the ability to trim videos from within the camera itself.
The Hero+ LCD also features notable improvements in camera quality, including 1080p video recording at 60fps and the ability to take 8MP still shots. The original Hero tops out at 30fps for 1080p video recording and captures snapshots in 5MP quality. HiLight tagging is another included feature of the Hero+ LCD, in addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capacity. Pricing will start at around $300. The official release date is June 6 for the U.S. and June 12 for the rest of the world.