Just 16 days after it was released, GoPro issued a recall order for its first-ever drone product, the Karma.
The struggling company, known for its action cameras, needed the Karma to do well in the 2016 holiday season to recover from what was shaping up to be a horrible year. However, GoPro seemed that it just could not catch a break, as several videos surfaced online showing that the Karma drone was losing power while in flight.
GoPro has now relaunched Karma three months after the recall order, claiming that the issue has been fixed.
GoPro Karma Battery Problem
Several videos revealed that the Karma drone was crashing back to earth while in mid-flight, and of course, it is dangerous for drones to be suddenly falling from the sky. No injuries and damages were reported to have been caused by the problem, but it was still an issue that needed to be fixed.
According to previous reports, the placement of the camera and gimbal on the Karma was the likely cause of the drone suddenly shutting down while in mid-air. Most drones have their cameras positioned underneath them for a solid center of gravity, but the Karma has the camera positioned out front, making proper balance harder for the drone.
Sources claimed that in early testing, the design of the Karma resulted in worse vibration, which sometimes led to the detachable battery of the drone being shaken loose and causing it to shut down while in mid-flight.
GoPro Relaunches Karma With Simple Fix
According to a post by GoPro that announced the relaunch of the Karma into the market, the drone does not look like it underwent any changes. However, if users would take a closer look, they would notice that GoPro redesigned the battery latch of the Karma, which the company claims is a simple but effective fix to the battery issues that led to the drone falling out of the sky.
Unfortunately, users who were hoping that GoPro would toss in an upgrade or price cut with the relaunched Karma will not enjoy such perks, as the drone is being released just as it were in October 2016. The only change is the redesigned battery latch that should keep the drone's battery in place while in flight. The Karma flew thousands of hours of test flights after the new battery latch was installed so that GoPro can make sure that the solution was an effective one.
Karma Back In the Market, But Is It Too Late?
It took three months for GoPro to relaunch the Karma, but analysts are claiming that the company already missed its chance to grab a significant piece of the drone market and challenge China's DJI.
The recall of the Karma came not long after drone market leader DJI released the Mavic Pro, a drone that was being considered as a direct competitor to GoPro's offering. Looking further back, the Karma was actually delayed for about a year, which meant that by the time GoPro released the drone, the market was already more saturated.
Michael Blades, an analyst from Frost & Sullivan, does appreciate the swift recall of the Karma drone by GoPro, despite there being no legal requirement for the company to do so.