The action camera category has a clear leader in GoPro, but others like Contour aren’t taking GoPro’s dominance lying down; the Utah-based maker of POV camera has joined forces with iON Cameras, a New Jersey-based maker of similar devices, in a merger that could help both remain competitive in a space where everyone from Sony to HTC is entering the ring.
Contour made a return to the action camera market last year, with a new lineup of action cameras and its first new products since returning under new ownership, after a shut-down back in 2013. News of Contour’s demise was hailed at the time as a sign that GoPro had indeed won the segment, as the Utah-based company had been, at one time, considered on nearly equal footing with, and was the closest competitor to, San Mateo-based GoPro.
iON Camera sought to capitalize on the growing demand for action cameras with its first iON Air Pro sports video unit back in 2012, after getting its start in 2011 as a subsidiary of global electronics company World Wide Licenses. The lineup offered by iON has since expanded to include lifelogging wearable cameras, as we well as Dropcam competitors, in addition to its sports/action line.
Joining forces is a logical move for these companies, especially if they want to carve out a corner of the market from GoPro, which only seems to be continuing to extend its lead since its IPO last year. Both iON and Contour brands will continue to exist under the arrangement, with Contour focusing on the higher end of the market and iON likely more aggressively targeting the budget consumer.
The combined company’s product vision appears to be broader than GoPro’s, too; it’ll be offering dash cameras, security cameras, and cameras for use in tactical situations with police and security professionals in addition to its POV and sports offerings. They’re looking to fill in the gaps, but who knows what GoPro’s expansion plans are, and others like Google’s Nest also appear poised to go after more of these parts of the market.