GoPro's Drone Prototype Offers Dreamy Footage and Hope for More from Big Tech Companies

GoPro paves the way for other bigger-name tech players to get some skin in the drone game.

Back in May we learned that GoPro is making drones. And this week, the go-anywhere-camera company floated its new drone to the public with an impressive YouTube video that’s all the more impressive because it doesn’t rely on common post-production stabilization.

The drone will be available in the early part of 2016, it comes at a good time for GoPro to show off a shiny new bit of tech — as its latest earnings were lower than expected, perhaps thanks to improved smartphone video cameras.

That GoPro would get into consumer drones isn’t terribly surprising, though. DJI Phantom drones equipped GoPro cameras have practically defined a new genre of sleepy, floating videos. They’ve enjoyed the most fruitful symbiotic relationship this side of the little birds that peck the gunk out of crocodile tooth-sockets.

When GoPro CEO Nick Woodman announced the drone was coming in May, he described them as a natural extension of the company’s investment in camera accessories. Making cameras fly is a smart way to keep consumers impressed. (We’ll have to wait a bit longer to replace the selfie stick with mini-drones that hover a smartphone by your face.)

GoPro’s gung-ho quadcopter approach also forecasts brand-name steps into the consumer drone market. As far as who’s up next to add a consumer drone to the shelf, you could bet worse than Sony. Along with robotics company ZMP, Sony Mobile created a drone outfit named Aerosense in July. The first drones out of Aerosense, like those in Google’s Project Wing, seem primed for commercial delivery:

In August in Japan, Aerosense displayed a multicopter UAV that boasts augmented reality integration; similar drones have already taken off with UAV-racing enthusiasts.

But as far as a sleek, white iDrone goes, Apple fans, you’ll have to console yourselves with concept artist mock-ups and domain name squatters.