Is there a Hero on the horizon?

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Hero 4

Is this the calling card for another Hero? /images: go pro.com & ambarella.com

GoPro Hero 4 rumoured to be in the making

A year ago GoPro released their latest wearable sports action camera, the GoPro Hero 3. Already being a dominant force in the market, thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign, the Hero 3 series solidified GoPro’s reputation as the fastest growing digital imaging company in the world. With it’s unprecedented ability to record 4K video and feature built-in Wi-Fi technology, the Hero 3 stands in a class of its own. According to GoPro’s CEO Nick Woodman, the company sold over 2 million cameras and grossed well over $500 million in 2012. It’s figures like these that are giving the GoPro’s contenders a tough time trying to stay afloat in this niche market.

Marc Barros, co-founder of Contour, another wearable sport action camera company and one of GoPro’s competitors, is reportedly leaving his company after not being able keep up with GoPro’s aggressive branding and marketing endeavours.

In a blog post earlier this year Barros wrote that this was “one of the most difficult decisions in my life, the company needs fresh legs and a leader with a different set of experiences. The category has exploded. GoPro has raised a truckload of money and large players (e.g., Sony) are trying their hand at wearable cameras. The company’s core challenge now is competing on a brand, marketing, and sales front, which is not consistent with the experiences I bring to the table.”

Now that other companies are unable to cope with GoPro’s superiority, what’s next for the camera giant? A quick look at their website and you’ll notice that GoPro is offering notable discounts on all of its Hero 3 cameras which is an indication that the company is making a final effort to move its stock in preparation for a newer model.

A Block Diagram of the Ambarella A9 4K Ultra HDSoC System Diagram. /image: ambarella.com

A Block Diagram of the Ambarella A9 4K Ultra HDSoC System Diagram. /image: ambarella.com

What’s even more convincing is that Ambarella, the company that creates the micro chips for the GoPro cameras just launched their latest A9 4K Ultra HD camera micro chip. The new chip boasts high efficiency 4K encoding, super high frame rate modes, advanced imaging and much more improvements. Here is a breakdown of some of the A9’s key specs:

4K Ultra HD H.264 Encoder

° High Profile with B-frames for high efficiency

Super High Frame Rate Modes

° 1080p120 and 720p240 for action videography

Advanced Imaging

° 700Mpixels/s oversampling performance

° Multi-exposure HDR and WDR tone mapping

° Electronic image stabilization (EIS)

° Improved MCTF with advanced sharpening

 Wi-FiTM Connectivity

° Remote viewfinder, playback

° Upload pictures and video to social media

Will the new chip make it’s way into a possible GoPro Hero 4 and if it does will it solve the GoPro’s existing issues of poor battery life and Wi-Fi range? Only time will tell and all of us techno crazed, adventure film enthusiasts will have to wait and perhaps grab another GoPro while its on sale before a Hero 4 becomes anything more than a rumour.

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