Action camera maker GoPro is having a tough time on Wall Street. The company, which had a very successful IPO in 2014 and reached a high of almost $100 per share that same year, was trading at just $12.69 Thursday morning. Shares tumbled 16% in mid-day trading Thursday after the company announced that it was going to miss revenue forecasts for the fourth quarter of 2014.
There are several reasons for GoPro’s swift decline. The company’s high-def cameras are targeted at mountain bikers, snowboarders and other extreme sports enthusiasts. But GoPro has had trouble expanding their appeal to others. A new flagship camera, the Hero4 Session, launched over the summer at $399. But the company cut that price in half by December, leading GoPro to take a $21 million charge on the lower-than-expected sales. As the camera quality on smartphones continues to improve, demand for GoPros from anyone who isn’t BASE jumping may dwindle.
Meanwhile, GoPro has tried to recast itself as a media company that distributes high-octane content to a millennial audience, similarly to what Red Bull is doing. The company is handing out cash awards to GoPro owners who share the most thrilling content in order to bolster its brand. So far, though, these early efforts haven’t made GoPro a significant amount of money. And the executive in charge of GoPro Entertainment, Zander Lurie, recently jumped ship to serve as CEO of SurveyMonkey, leaving the company’s media ambitions in question.
Finally, the company is being forced to slash its workforce after growing more than 50% annually over the last two years. GoPro says it will shave its headcount by 7% in the coming months, an effort that will cost $5 to $10 million in severance payments.
Even as smartphones largely replace point-and-shoot cameras, there's plenty of interesting experimentation happening in photography. One example is the Light L16 camera, a futuristic-looking shooter that's really 16 separate cameras in one. For each image, the L16 uses up to 10 of its lenses at once, then blends those shots into a high-quality amalgamation. Shooters can also adjust the depth of field of their image after it was taken, impossible with most cameras.
Samsung 16TB SSD
It might sound silly to get excited over something as simple as a hard drive, but Samsung gives us good reason here. This new drive is among the biggest SSD hard drives ever made — in terms of storage space, not physical dimensions. The drive can hold up to 16 terabytes of data; an entry-level iPhone stores less than 2% of that.
Parents are hearing all the time about how important it is for their children to learn STEM skills — that is, science, technology, engineering and math. One way to help young ones get some hands-on tech time is with LittleBits' Gizmos & Gadgets kit, a pack of color-coded circuits, control boards and wiring that helps kids learn how their video game consoles and smartphones actually work under the hood.
741 people were killed in bicycle-related roadway deaths in 2013, according to government data. One solution could be the Garmin Varia, which takes your boring old bike and adds a high-tech radar display, alerting you when cars are approaching from behind. That situational awareness should make cycling on busy roads much safer.
Close your eyes and imagine a drone — not the military kind, but the type you might see zipping around above your local park. Odds are, the design you're imagining looks like DJI's Phantom series, one of the most popular models out there. The Inspire is the Phantom's bolder, more expensive cousin, looking like something that beamed down from an alien planet to record aerial footage of Earth.
Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus is a small fish in a very big pond, but it stands to grow very quickly. Its latest flagship phone, the OnePlus 2, offers top-notch specs at an entry-level price: $329 with no contract. The catch? Shoppers need an invite to buy one, a stipulation that's only added to the hype around this Android handset.
New Horizons Probe
NASA's New Horizons probe was launched way back in 2006. But its time to shine was July 14, 2015, when the craft came within 7,750 miles of Pluto, snapping photos as it passed . Shortly thereafter, New Horizons started beaming back valuable data about our far-off celestial neighbor, including the most high-resolution and, frankly, stunning imagery we've ever seen.
Google self-driving car
What happens to car design when humans don't need to drive them anymore? Google's self-driving car gives us a clue. It has a bubbly, Beetle-like exterior, while the interior ditches the suddenly unnecessary steering wheel. Google has no plans to bring this particular model to market; it's merely a testbed for the company's autonomous driving technology.
After stars like Justin Bieber and Wiz Khalifa were spotted zipping around on these things, they were suddenly everywhere. They're bound to be a big hit this holiday season, but a copyright dispute may make them hard to find on store shelves.
While much of the technology world is gaga over virtual reality, Microsoft is making a big bet in a similar-sounding but very different direction: Mixed reality. Wear the HoloLens, and holographic images will suddenly appear around your physical environment. The headset is potentially useful for professionals from surgeons to space astronauts.
These compounding issues led GoPro to announce that it generated about $435 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, well below analysts’ expectations of $512 million. Several banks have since slashed their price targets for the company’s stock, Reuters reports.
GoPro is now hoping that virtual reality gear and the launch of a GoPro drone can help reverse its fortunes. There's reason for optimism on both fronts. Drones catapulted into the world of mainstream consumer products over the holiday season, while VR is set to do the same in 2016. But the company faces stiff competition in both arenas, meaning success is far from guaranteed.