When it comes to technology, I’m one of those folks that eat and sleep the next big thing. While I would never wait in line at the Apple store for the newest product (the news is already out by that time), I am the type of person that wants to know what’s new before I know I need it. CES, the largest consumer electronics show in the world, took place last week in Las Vegas, Nevada, and many folks were expecting DJI to showcase a new flight product. I have been going to CES for over 33 years, and unfortunately had to miss it this year, because (1) I was teaching a UAV training class and (2) I knew that DJI would not release a product that flies.
I love companies that invent the technology that changes the market, not those that copy what is hot or just released. Steve Jobs, when he was alive, had the capability of developing an Apple product that people didn’t even know they needed and then have it explode in popularity. This is why I support Apple, they invent the change.
While DJI is no Apple, they are a close second when it comes to producing innovative technology. Similar to Jobs, they are able to change the market, leaving the competition trailing behind. In full disclosure, I am one of the largest distributors of DJI products. We are a LARGE proponent of consulting with our clients prior to their purchase to help them choose the right equipment to meet their consumer and commercial needs. I’m also always excited to provide feedback and see what the 1000+ engineers and designers at DJI can do to once again to change the landscape of the UAV industry.
So what’s up with the announcement on the 23rd instead of at CES 2018?
It is, in my opinion, a way for DJI to say, “We stand on our own, and don’t need no stinking show to announce our latest product.” Instead, they would rather say, “We can draw a crowd on our own,” which is exactly what they did. The company made the announcement for the media event scheduled for January 23rd at 10 am in New York City, presumably to announce the next Big Adventure.
In true DJI style, the invitation simply reads ‘Adventure Unfolds‘.
So what is it? Do I know? While I don’t kiss and tell, I will tell you to take a hard look at the current DJI offerings and then the image on the invitation. One clue “could be” the swooping lines. Like a new Lamborghini, could these be the curved lines that indicate a new UAV? Could it be a new Adventure Mavic? The Mavic does unfold you know.
As far as technology products go, the Mavic is practically ancient. It’s been 2 years since its release, and while the system did receive a facelift with the Platinum version, it was only a color change, new props, and little under the hood. It’s time for a new one. The big one-inch image sensor in the Phantom 4 Pro is calling for a Mavic type airframe, but maybe that will be saved for the big broadcast show, NAB. Then again, there is room for another possibility too.
While a new Mavic is strong in the rumor mill, I have no doubt one is in the pipeline. Hopefully, it will include that 1-inch image sensor in the camera. The Phantom 5 is also a viable option, and frankly, the Phantom is ready for a makeover. Could the P5 be the replacement for the Inspire 1? If so, it would need a zoom lens or an X7 type camera with 360-degree rotation, and interchangeable lenses. Infrared would also be a nice option for a Prosumer product. After all, why have a big and bulky Phantom when you can get a much more transportable Mavic for consumer use? A Prosumer P5 could be the ticket but again, and IMO, the Phantom platform is tired and needs a new frame.
Speaking of the smooth lines on the invitation, many drone folks including hardcore DJI fans and dealers (other than us), didn’t seem to notice or pay much attention to the line of racing products that have been slowly released over the past year, especially those with minimal fanfare. For instance, not too long ago we received a new stealthy black racing goggles with full HD and the new Ocusync technology that will run multiple frequencies. We also received the new small 12MP FPV camera, along with other accessories, some of which have yet to even start shipping (our orders are in). But what many missed (focused on a whole other drone crowd) was the Snail Racing Propulsion System.
DJI has been building their own motors and getting good at it and the electronic speed controller (ESC) technology to drive them. I just love the name “Snail” for a racing motor system, especially giving the gangster or rogue-like reputation that a lot of the FPV drone racing crowd likes to project. Drone racing is big business. If you don’t think so just take a look at some of the more well-known pilot’s youtube channels like Skitzo or even our own UAV Expert shop pilots Silas, Jim or Cooper. You could also check out a previous UAV Experts UAV Technical Support rep who goes by the name of Mr. Steele (where did that name come from anyway?) You might have heard of him, he has nearly 130,000 followers. Also over 1 million in prize money put up for a recent world championship, with big TV channels like ESPN getting in on the action.
So with all of this being said…… just what is being shown on the 23rd?
Make no mistake I am not telling, however, FPV drone racing is BIG, it is growing and is a market that DJI does not play in ……. yet.
But then again who am I to know…….
Let me know what “you” think in the comments area below
Always Fly Safe!