Tech Drivers
Tech Drivers

Will a 360-degree camera be the next GoPro?

VSN Mobil’s V.360
Source: VSN Mobil

A number of companies are launching 360-degree cameras that capture a full spectrum of video content. Unlike a GoPro camera, which straps onto something to capture a single point of view, a 360-degree camera is placed on a mount, allowing the camera's entire perimeter to be recorded simultaneously. Resulting video can be displayed in a variety of capacities and developers hope to attract a range of consumers, from adventure seekers to those wanting to capture large-scale events such as weddings or concerts.

Kodak, VSN Mobil and VOXX International are among the companies taking aim at this new market.

Kodak's SP360 Action Cam will be available later this month in two versions. The Explorer/Aqua Pack is the basic camera, which will retail for $349, while the Extreme pack will include mounts and will retail for $399.

Kodak PixPro SP360
Source: Kodak

VSN Mobil's V.360 is going on sale in mid-November. The price will be publicly announced in the coming weeks.

And VOXX International—the parent company of brands such as RCA and Audiovox—will sell the 360Fly starting in early 2015, although it has yet to determine its price.

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Paul Meeks, a senior analyst with Saturna Capital, questions how big the demand for the 360-degree camera will be. He's skeptical that the technology will be user-friendly enough for most consumers. For example, there's a variety of ways in which to view 360-degree footage, making the format far more robust than a single-framed shot that automatically fits nicely into a YouTube or Facebook video upload.

"It's a little dicey to think this is a going to be a big market," Meeks told CNBC. "I don't know if you'd buy the product unless you're very sophisticated."

Some of the new 360-degree cameras are intentionally being designed to be compatible with the same mounts that GoPro products use. GoPro's stock, which began trading in early June at $24 per share, has been trading at around $89 since the company's IPO later the same month. GoPro recently announced its most affordable product yet, the GoPro Hero at $129 —a stark contrast from its previous product offerings, which range in price from $200 to $500.

While Meeks thinks the 360-degree camera is too "niche" to create any major new trends in the portable gadget space, GoPro technology, too, likely faced its fair share of skeptics when the firm sold its first camera a decade ago in 2004.

So should GoPro be worried now?

When asked if they're developing their own version of the 360-degree camera, GoPro officials had no comment.

GoPro CEO: Enabling incredible content
GoPro CEO: Enabling incredible content

Meeks thinks it would be relatively easy for the company to create a new 360-degree camera, as the technology has been around for some time and few patent protections stand in the way. He also notes that GoPro, since it became publicly traded, has an abundance of resources on hand.

When it comes to competition in the space, Meeks said it's not necessarily the smaller players that will be competing with one other or that stand to take GoPro's market share in the long term.

"I think Apple and Samsung could be the big boys to swoop in and take over," he said. "This is too small niche for them now—[there is] not enough demand—so they don't focus their R&D on it."