Sony (SNE) has announced it will be releasing a new shock proof, crush proof, action camera to compete with GoPro (GPRO). The 1.0 inch 15.3 MP RX0 should deliver superior image quality, as its sensor is bigger than any of GoPro models currently available. The camera shoots video in 4K, is waterproof up to 10 meters and captures slow motion at up to 960 frames/second with a resolution of 1920x1080p, a feature not typically found in a camera priced under $1,000. The RX0 will cost $700 and is expected to ship in October.
Howie Long-Short: GPRO is facing strong competition from Sony, Canon (CAJ), Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (KRX: 005930) in the action camera space and still managed to grow revenues 34% YOY in Q2 ’17. They have the #2 selling drone brand in the U.S., a pilot going for a device designed to capture fully immersive VR content and a mobile editing app that has seen usage increase 112% YOY. I don’t see the RX0 putting a damper on GPRO’s recent momentum.
Fan Marino: The GoPro Hero5 Black is $399. It is roughly the same size as the RX0. For $50 (case) it’s nearly as durable. The control options are slightly different, but each has their benefits. The big difference is the slow-motion capability on the RX0. Is that worth $300? Not for me.
Sony’s latest competitor to the GoPro is a cute black box
Fitbit (FIT) has announced a partnership with Dexcom (DXCM) that will enable the brand’s new Ionic smartwatch to continuously monitor user glucose levels through a G5 mobile sensor, beginning in early 2018. The deal means that diabetes patients will be able to seamlessly transfer up to the minute glucose level data to their wrist for easy access. Dexcom’s G5 system for blood sugar monitoring requires users to embed a sensor just below the skin, with a compatible app providing levels updates every 5 minutes.
Howie Long-Short: Fitbit making the move from fitness tracking to health tracking is wise. The stock is at its highest price since January, when the company laid off 6% of its staff and first announced its intentions to introduce a smartwatch.
Fan Marino: Dexcom already has a partnership in place with Apple (AAPL), so this deal isn’t giving Fitbit a leg up in the smartwatch race. In fact, Apple is reportedly working on a non-invasive real-time glucose monitor for future versions of their Watch and is apparently far enough along in development that the company has begun feasibility testing.
Rumors indicate that Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) next Apple Watch will include its own cellular modem chip. Benchmark analysts believe that providing the smartwatch with the ability to connect directly to cellular networks, without the use of a smartphone, is the key to consumer adoption and that the change could push the smartwatch market to reach 100 million units sold by 2021 (up from 30 million this year). The new Apple Watch will run on watchOS 4 (scheduled to be released in September), and support workouts ranging from common fitness activities to sailing and fishing. While AAPL is the current smartwatch leader with an estimated 50% market share, FitBit (FIT), the leader in the less capable fitness tracker space, has just introduced its newest fitness watch, the Ionic.
How Apple could make smartwatches more popular, and potentially help Fitbit
Howie Long-Short: So FIT launched their first smartwatch using hardware and software built in-house, right after APPL announced it is introducing a cellular version of its Apple Watch. FIT execs must feel like they are walking in quicksand…which would seem like a good workout.
Fan Marino: While the Ionic can’t beat the new Apple Watch from a technology standpoint, FIT is doing what it can to ensure the watch competes from a marketing one. The company has announced it is teaming with Adidas (ADDYY) to provide a branded version of the Ionic in 2018.