GoPro has been granted a patent for a square shaped action camera. The patent depicts the camera sliding into a housing instead of being clamped into the waterproof housing like their current offerings do. GoPro could be developing a ultra compact and low cost camera to combat rivals in the marketplace. However, the patent was filed in January 2014, and GoPro told Re/code “GoPro files patents like these to protect our technology and intellectual property,”. It sounds like GoPro is investigating this camera style, but not betting on it quite yet. There are a couple of action cameras that are square: the polaroid cube, and square hd to name a few. A square camera would reduce the cost of the camera housing, but it is unclear if the internal element cost would also be reduced. It is likely that if GoPro were to release a square camera, it would be the company’s ultra low cost offering, beneath their $129.99 GoPro Hero.
Currently GoPro has the action camera market cornered but they are looking to expand into other camera markets. If you spend 15 minutes at any major tourist attraction you will come across tourists taking images and videos with GoPros on the end of a short pole, or “selfie stick”. This practice is getting more and more popular, and normal consumers are buying action cameras and using them in non-action settings. GoPro would love to dominate this market, and could try to pry away users who would normally use their smartphone. Polaroid tried to do this with their Polaroid Cube, but it failed to gain traction. Perhaps GoPro hasn’t released a product to compete in this market yet maybe because they do not believe that their product is good enough to compete with smartphones.