Wow. Last week GoPro released the Karma. The long awaited drone that has been rumoured ever since their public split with DJI over who should get what share of the profits… the drone maker or the camera maker?

Well, not surprising to us, making drones is harder, and based where GoPro get their cameras built, DJI took no time in making an impressive line up of cameras of their own and unshackled from this tie-up some great partnerships of their own.

Enter stage left, 3DR, the once hero of the DIY drone world released their first serious consumer drone, the Solo. At the time a wonder of a machine, and crucially for this story, integrated closely with GoPro.

But soon after it had been launched, and without even giving them a chance to get off the ground, rumours began to circulate that there was a soon to be released GoPro drone waiting in the wings… How exciting, we should wait.

But nothing happened.

Then like clockwork, the DJI Phantom 3 hit the shelves, every year the phantoms are updated and every year they make everything before them look ordinary.

Meanwhile in a galaxy far far away, something stirred in the crowdfunding world. A drone, like no other, shunning kickstarter and going it alone… and what’s more, totally killing it. $34m+ raised. Mind blown.

The lily was a drone with a smile, and some nice gimmicks. We loved the mic in the bracelet, that was cool. But the whole throwing it to launch it was going to be a YouTube bloopers gift.

Problem with it was… it’s not yet launched. Millions of dollars in pre-orders and everyone is wondering what they have been doing all this time?

Maybe I’m dreaming… can it be true? GoPro will launch a drone this year?! We have a date and a name, Karma. Ooooo how mysterious, does it imply everything will soon be balanced again in the world? Will GoPro be restored as king of the hill?

Tick tock, here comes the Phantom 4. Wowzers. The ripples just caused an earthquake in San Mateo. That’s going to delay things another 6 months at least… sure enough GoPro push things back.

But they can’t delay any longer… (the Phantom 5 is probably just round the corner) the day we’ve all been waiting for is finally here, and Nick Woodman is certainly excited. The Karma is revealed… not bad. Very clever using the gimbal as a removable steadicam. Nice way of selling to more than just drone enthusiasts, but it’s nothing new, a cheaper 3DR Solo with an Osmo thrown in. Not going to set the world alight, but definitely going to be popular. It’s certainly needed to stop DJI encroaching anymore into the hand held action cam market.

Hang on, WTF is this? Ooooo that’s cheeky. A DJI launch event? A week later? Love this competition!

Welcome onto the stage the Mavic.

The first drone that isn’t taking any prisoners. So good and so cheap it’s embarrassed everyone and set a new standard:

  • 3DR Solo – sadly seems to be quietly forgotten.
  • Lily Drone – who? still apparently no where near being launched and already old news.
  • GoPro’s Karma – yes I’m sure it will sell quite a few, but what a short-lived high that was.
  • Countless drone start-ups that thought they were onto something…
  • DJI’s own Phantom series of drones – An interesting one, why would you buy a Phantom now? Maybe they are about to get much cheaper, or much more of a serious camera drone and push the Inspire to new heights? We’ll have to wait and see.

Definitely interesting times ahead. For us this is the closest thing we’ve seen to a serious contender to the ethos behind our Nanukopter.

So what do we do now?

Well for us it’s always been a bit of fun on the side. An itch I had to scratch. Whilst the Mavic is amazing, it’s not the Land Rover Defender, the Leatherman, the hardcore survivalist drone that I want. It’s also just something off the shelf, not something I can make my own, tweak and tune late into the evening if I wanted.

So we’ll continue as before. But we’ll hopefully be bringing things forward as much as we can and just like our joysticks, make as much open source as we can. Inviting you to join us under the hood to make this a serious contender to those people, those makers and hackers, tinkerers and thinkers who want to build something unique for themselves.

We look forward to seeing what parts of the Mavic we can incorporate into our own. I’ve certainly got my eyes on those folding props and gimbal! 🙂