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Why GoPro, Inc. Wants to Eliminate Desktop Computers

By Steve Symington – Sep 28, 2016 at 3:06PM

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How the action-camera specialist is making content creation as seamless and convenient as possible.

GoPro is striving to simplify editing mobile content. Image source: GoPro Inc.

When GoPro Inc. (GPRO 2.21%) held what founder and CEO Nick Woodman called the "largest introduction of products in [company] history" last week, its new hardware devices -- namely the Karma drone and two cloud-connected HERO5 series cameras -- naturally stole the show. 

But arguably just as important to GoPro's future is the combination of its new Quik editing apps, GoPro Plus cloud subscription service, and Quik key, a keychain-style microSD card reader that streamlines the process of transferring data to your mobile device. Collectively, GoPro claims its portfolio of hardware and software products now represents an ideal "end-to-end storytelling solution."

A mobile future

Users are free to download GoPro's editing apps for both mobile or desktop devices. But Woodman made clear his company's preference for the former during the follow-up conference call with investors, stating:

By making Quik key, we've given the user the ability to quickly and easily transfer footage from their GoPro over to their phone, where they can then make an edit using the Quik app. [...] And in terms of uploading your content to the cloud, HERO5 cameras -- black and session -- will automatically upload any new photos and videos to the cloud -- more specifically to a user's GoPro plus account -- when that camera is charging. So that the next time the user thinks about the footage they captured and they want to review it, they can simply launch the GoPro app on their phone, and access that footage, and then quickly make an edit that they can share with friends. So what we're trying to do is to eliminate the desktop computer from the content creation experience. Because as we all know, peoples' computers are now in their pocket. And they want to enjoy and share their content on the go. And so in this way, we think we've really conveniently woven GoPro into people's lifestyle. [emphasis mine]

Perspective is in order

Then again, this shouldn't be a huge surprise. GoPro users have long complained about the hours it previously took to upload, edit, and share meaningful content with friends and family. Morgan Stanley analyst James Faucette even called out the company with a downgrade last December, arguing, in part, that "key challenges of off-loading, storage, and editing content have not been adequately addressed for a product intended to be 'taken anywhere to record everything.'"

Woodman admitted as much in GoPro's painful fourth-quarter 2015 report earlier this year, stating, "[W]e recognize the need to develop software solutions that make it easier for our customers to offload, access, and edit their GoPro content."

As it turns out, eliminating the need to include a desktop computer in that loop is a big part of those plans. And I think GoPro has developed a convenient, ingenious portfolio of simplified software and hardware to solve this crucial problem.

Whether GoPro's efforts prove successful remains to be seen. But if consumers embrace GoPro's desktop-free future, it could be the key to helping the company return to sustained, profitable growth going forward.

Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends GoPro. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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