When the Karma drone was announced, the Karma Grip stabilizer was an add-on that made the drone a compelling option for customers. The drone itself wasn't the best on the market, but add in the backpack, mounting system, and Karma Grip stabilizer, and it was easy to see why customers would spend $799 for Karma -- and more to add a camera.
But when the Karma drone was recalled, the Karma Grip went with it. That was a lost opportunity for GoPro Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRO). Now, the Karma Grip is back on the market, bringing a stabilizer to the product line, but it probably won't be a big seller this holiday season.
Where Karma Grip falls short
When Karma Grip went on sale as a stand-alone product, it came with a $299.99 price tag without the camera. That's in line with what similar products from competitors like DJI or Feiyu Tech, but it's compatible only with GoPro cameras and doesn't have some of the control options, like panning ability, that some rivals offer.
GoPro will likely garner some sales from the stand-alone Karma Grip, but what made the product more compelling was that it was part of the drone family of products. As a stand-alone, it just isn't very impressive against the competition.
The lack of the Karma Drone hits GoPro
What made Karma Grip a decent offering in the first place was that it was included with the Karma drone. As an add-on, it's a great device and makes the Karma drone a better value. As a stand-alone, it competes with better options.
And therein lies the challenge for GoPro this holiday season. Its drone has been recalled and we have no idea when (or if) it may be back in stores. So the company is trying to forge forward with the products that are ready for prime time, including the Karma Grip. But the entire ecosystem doesn't have the same draw without the drone tying it all together.
Execution is a problem at GoPro
Management has been quiet about what went wrong with the Karma drone, other than to say there were cases in which it could lose power while flying. But the fact that the company spent years developing the product and wasn't 100% ready at launch is concerning, to say the least, and shows a trend at GoPro.
After the Session debacle last year, this is the second year in a row GoPro has failed to execute on its product plans. Developing products that don't pan out burns through cash and undermines consumer confidence in the brand. And that alone may be enough reason to give up on the stock.
Travis Hoium owns shares of GoPro. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends GoPro. The Motley Fool has the following options: short January 2019 $12 calls on GoPro and long January 2019 $12 puts on GoPro. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.