For a brief time, DJI  and GoPro were partners — or at least uncomfortable allies. Way back in 2014, the companies were joined together with the intention of building a drone designed to capture athletes in motion. It must have seemed like a perfect piece of synergy from two players at the top of their respective games.
Of course, things didn’t shake out that way. The best laid plans and all that. GoPro went all in on its own drone, but Karma’s launch was wobbly, to say the least. Sixteen days after release, GoPro recalled the drone after battery issues caused it to start falling from the sky. The drone was re-released, but the division was seemingly doomed from the beginning. Early last year, the company announced plans to axe around a fifth of its staff, effectively ending its drone division in the process.
DJI’s own business, on the other hand, has been booming. The Mavic Pro, announced shortly after the Karma, has redefined the consumer drone space, spawning a sequel and several other folding quadcopters from the company, including the Mavic Air, Zoom and Spark. All the while, the Shenzhen-based company has been making strides in imaging, with products like the impressive Osmo Pocket gimbal.
But until now, DJI had never taken a direct swing at GoPro’s true bread and butter: the action camera.
The Osmo Action is a shot across the bow. DJI is gunning directly for GoPro with its own action camera that brings a compelling feature set to the conversation. The camera arrives at a time of relative calm for GoPro. The company’s first quarter financials were looking up, with a...