On a recent episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, The Verge’s Sean O’Kane spoke with Recode’s Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode about the meteoric success of Pokémon Go and the less-delightful concerns about GoPro’s future.
You can read some of the highlights from Sean’s discussion with Kara and Lauren at that link, or listen to it in the audio player above. Below, we’ve posted a lightly edited complete transcript of their conversation.
Transcript by Maya Goldberg-Safir.
Lauren Goode: ... Did you ever end up meeting up with with A-Rod in New York?
Kara Swisher: No, I did not! I didn't call them. You know, I forgot.
LG: You forgot to call A-Rod?
KS: You know, she keeps saying "let's get together" and then I forget.
LG: All right.
KS: I did meet the producer of "Hamilton" right before the final Lin Manuel show, but the show continues on. He was fascinating.
LG: Oh yeah? What did he say?
KS: Lots of things about theater, live theater. He said it's ... you can't have ... like, real sex is better than virtual sex, and that's why live theater will continue, among many other things he said.
LG: Did you ask him specifically about that?
KS: No! He just bought it up!
LG: He just randomly ...
KS: Yeah, he was great. He's fantastic. He's produced "Rent," "In the Heights." He's a really successful producer, and obviously "Hamilton" has been a big deal.
LG: And are you gonna see "Hamilton" in San Francisco?
KS: I am gonna see "Hamilton." But I'm not taking you. In any case ...
LG: I really think, first of all, you should take me. And second of all, I think you should tell our readers, our listeners and our readers, they're going to get a prize for sending in the best questions.
KS: I'm not gonna give them a Hamilton ticket. Are you kidding?
LG: C'mon Kara, take one for the team.
KS: No. No. I'm wondering if I'm taking my children even. Anyway … Explain today's show.
LG: Okay, well, originally we were gonna talk about GoPro, which we're still gonna do a little bit, because we did get some questions from our readers, and we want to make sure we answer those questions, but we're gonna call an audible here and ... do you even know what an audible is?
KS: Uh, no.
LG: Okay. Sportsball. Sportsball. Anyway, we're gonna switch to another topic! The first part of this podcast is entirely about Pokémon Go!
KS: Because nobody's talking about that in the media.
LG: I don't even know what Pokémon Go is. No, I'm just kidding! Of course! Everyone is talking about it, and it's not just the media. It's real people talking about it.
KS: Yeah, I mean the media grabbed on it. It's like twerking.
LG: We've amplified it a little bit.
KS: Do you remember the last time people twerked? Never again. Like all those things, like the Harlem Shake.
LG: I think I've like blocked twerking from my ...
KS: I'm just saying, these things, these fads come and go.
LG: Yeah, and we've only done like 30 stories on it.
KS: I know, exactly.
LG: but we are gonna talk about Pokémon Go, and the phenomenon that it is.
KS: I was saying, I saw like half a dozen people on my way to work.
LG: I'm surprised you only saw half a dozen.
KS: It was crazy! They were in my way! They stop, and they're looking at their phones. It's even worse. It's horrible.
LG: What did you ...
KS: I said, "Get the fuck outta my way!" That's what I yelled.
LG: Really? How did that go?
KS: Or take a picture of me.
LG: They probably didn't even hear you because they're too busy looking at their phones,
KS: They are! They're obsessed with their phones. It's worse than they already ... the situation combines ...
LG: Have you played it?
KS: It combines the worst of both worlds — slow pedestrians and people staring at their phones.
LG: You know, if they were in New York, they'd probably be just bowled over by now.
KS: I didn't twerk, I didn't do the Harlem Shake.
LG: You haven't tried it at all?
KS: Lambada? Remember the lambada? You were probably too young.
LG: No! What is that?
KS: It's a dance. It's another dance. There's lots of dances.
KS: Lambada. I didn't do Zumba. I don't do trends. They go away. I quietly sit and wait for them to move along.
LG: I like how you liken Pokémon to a gym class.
KS: I'm interested in the phenomena! Like, I'm interested in the idea that people just love something and then, you know, move on, ‘cause my kids play a lot of games they love and then move on.
LG: Are they playing Pokémon?
KS: No. They are not. But they might! I suppose they'll get into it.
LG: I played it for about five minutes the other night.
KS: And? Did you like it?
LG: Yeah, it was cool. I like how it mapped out the world around me.
KS: Let's get an expert in here to explain the situation. Obviously Kara's being a luddite here about the situation.
LG: I know. We're being very rude because we do have an awesome guest who is not only an expert on GoPro — we asked him to come on to talk about GoPro — but he's been playing a lot of Pokémon Go! This is Sean O'Kane of The Verge. Sean, welcome to Too Embarrassed to Ask for the first time!
Sean O’Kane: Thanks for having me!
LG: I'm so excited!
KS: Do you GoPro while you Pokémon Go?
SO: I haven't, but, you know, we're not too far out from those two things crossing.
KS: Oh no. Oh God, Sean.
SO: You're talking about literally running into people, and I know that's one of the big things that people have talked about in the first week of Pokémon Go! So the next thing is it will inevitably be companies coming up with ways to play it without you needing to bury your head in the phone.
KS: Oh my God.
LG: So like a Google Glass?
KS: So explain this. Explain what it is for the people.
SO: So when you say Google Glass, I spent yesterday trying to get this app to run on Google Glass.
KS: Did it work?
SO: No, unfortunately. It does seem like the killer Google Glass app. So yeah, I mean this app is a game, but you open it up and it shows an avatar, a virtual version that you can sort of customize and make look like you on a map! And it just looks like a cartoony version of Google Maps, of your surroundings. And you can kind of zoom out a little bit but you can't move around like you can in Google Maps. It just stays focused on you, and as you walk, your character moves along the map, and there's a whole bunch of other stuff around you on the little map on your phone. Sometimes it's Pokémon, and if they show up, you try to catch them. Sometimes it's these blue floating orb things that are called "PokéStops" in the game, which is basically just a way to collect items that then make it easier to catch Pokémon.
KS: How do they show up? They show up on your screen essentially, and then how do you catch them?
LG: Yeah, how do you catch them?
SO: So you'll get near one and your phone will buzz, and you tap it on the map and all of a sudden your map will activate your camera on your phone, and so you're looking sort of through your phone in a very augmented reality way at what's, you know, in front of you in real life, but it'll project that little Pokémon on your screen into the sort of surroundings that you're at, and you throw a little virtual Pokéball at it, and you just keep throwing those Pokéballs at it until you catch it.
LG: And what do you get? For doing that?
SO: You get that Pokémon.
KS: So you catch them and then what?
SO: Uh, you catch more!
KS: Ok. And then what?
SO: And then eventually you've built out a roster of higher level Pokémon, more rare Pokémon that have better abilities and things, and then you go to locations around you that are on the virtual map on your phone. There are these big sort of towering ones you can see from afar. You walk to one of those and you tap on it on your screen and it's a gym and it's where other people who are playing the game can sort of post up their Pokémon there and say, "I'm the best." And so you can fight them and try to take over that gym. It's kinda like FourSquare at that point, where you're sort of trying to become the mayor of a certain place.
KS: Hmm, so would you take their Pokémon?
SO: Yeah, it's like FourSquare meets jacks, you know, or like Pogs for the ‘90s kids. You can kinda steal them.
LG: Kara looks completely intrigued. I think she's actually gonna play! I think you are!
KS: Me and Ruther Bader Ginsburg are moving to New Zealand ... RBG.
LG: Sean, so how did ... so Pokémon is a Nintendo brand, right? But this is actually — it's utilizing another company's technology. Explain a little back story of Pokémon Go.
SO: Yeah, so the app itself was built by a company called Niantic, which was part of Google for a while, interestingly enough. And then they have long had a game out called Ingress, which is basically a darker, more sort of sci-fi version of Pokémon Go, and that was the same sort of thing, where you would look at a map on your phone, people would gather together to go take over spots like a King of the Hill style kind of thing. And it had a bit more story element than Pokémon Go does, which is a bit more free roaming. So they've been around for a while and they basically just ... this deal got struck with Nintendo with the licensing for all the Pokémon IP, and they basically just sort of applied it right to this same game engine that they had tuned for Ingress and here we are.
KS: So Nintendo's not making money, are they?
SO: Well, they're taking' a cut and those in-app purchases are supposedly bringing in millions of dollars right now, but we don't really have a great idea of how much.
KS: And how much does it cost to play this fascinating game?
SO: It's free. You can either sign up with their account service like on their website, or you can use a Gmail address, which has caused some issues in the first couple days because the app was sort of overreaching on its permissions without telling anybody. And that's been resolved with an update that got pushed today, but for a while a lot of people were seeing that this app had full access to their Gmail accounts and that's definitely not what you usually want apps to have.
LG: Yeah, and we're actually gonna talk more about the privacy implications of this because some of our listeners sent in questions about that. But before we get to our listener Q&A, why do you think that this has taken off so much over the past week?
KS: And when is it gonna be over? Really.
SO: I mean, those are two really good questions. When it's gonna be over — I feel Chris Plant, our sort of games editor, he gives it a lifetime of a month. I think it's hard to limit it there. I think it really has to do with the in-game stuff. It reminds me a lot of World of Warcraft about a decade ago when that really blew up. Because if people keep taking over these gyms and they have higher and higher level Pokémon and then people finally give in and start playing the game in a couple weeks, they're gonna feel totally outpaced by everybody. Like right now it's so successful because everybody's starting from the same spot, which is a huge reason of why it got so popular in the first place. No one was really too far ahead of you. But if you pick up and join in like a month or so, they're really gonna have to make it easy for you to not feel like you're just never gonna catch up, and that's a real problem with games like these with these leveling mechanics. You have to make sure that the new poeple don't feel like they're never gonna be able to touch one of the main parts of the game.
LG: It seems to me like it's a combination, a confluence of factors that have really allowed this. The first being, obviously, mobile games are huge. People love playing mobile games. They're addictive when we all have smartphones in our pockets all the time. and then the technology engine, as Sean mentioned, already existed because it was built by Niantic Labs beforehand. Pokémon is a brand that is loved by ... people loved Nintendo. Oh, and then there's the whole AR element! I mean, for a while, AR has been this thing that hasn't really taken off in any real meaning way.
KS: And of course there's lazy people who actually think they're actually exercising.
LG: And then there's that! I was just reading this Onion article — and the Onion always puts things so well, sometimes better than, I think, straightforward news articles can — but it's a Q&A about Pokémon, and the question is, "Where can you play Pokémon Go?" And the Onion's satirical answer is, "You can play it in any society in which the problems of day-to-day survival have been adequately solved to allow the concept of unfocused activity or leisure to develop." it's basically like, we have nothing better to do and we're all bored! And we have first-world problems, so we're all like, "Let's go around and catch these digital goods because it makes us feel amazing," and in some ways ... you know, I don't want to go too deep into the psychology of it in speaking off the cuff, but you have to look too at some of the recent events in the news and just how everything seems to be imploding, and I start to wonder if there's a reaction to …
KS: True, but I think there's some level of people who love to join whatever — the hula hoop or whatever — and people like to join a fad.
SO: Yeah! The pet rock.
KS: Pet rock!
SO: I think there are two really big things at play. There's — you're right, Lauren — it's totally a perfect storm. There's so many things that have turned this into what it has. And it's crazy to talk about it this way when it's only been out for a week. That's the weirdest thing about it to me. But I think the two biggest things are one, that legacy that you mentioned, especially considering that Pokémon really hit about 20 years ago. Now all those kids that really fell in love with the franchise originally and maybe have not really followed through with it as they grew up, are now in their 20s and 30s and have the disposable income, and maybe the ability to take some time to walk outside and go do that, while all the sort of younger generations below them have seen this sort of appropriation of stuff from that era like turntables and there's ...
KS: We're gonna get to listener questions, but is it men? Women? Is it split evenly? I saw mostly women doing this.
LG: Have you really?
SO: I haven't seen any of the numbers, but it certainly seems like it's pretty even. Everybody I walk by when I'm going home from the subway to my apartment, I just keep looking at people's screens and they all have it open. And it's everybody — it's all races, it's all ages. It's crazy.
KS: Where do you live?
SO: In Brooklyn.
KS: Of course, the hipster ...
SO: But in Park Slope Brooklyn, so like family Brooklyn!
KS: Yeah! They've attached the phone to the strollers. What's the craziest story, not the craziest story, but like, there are some pretty crazy stories out there now of people [interrupting each other] ... middle of Lake Shore Drive, which is a highway, essentially.
LG: That seems like not the best idea.
KS: No, I didn't think it was a good idea because like a pile-up …
LG: Yeah, you said you saw five or six people? In the Castro today?
KS: Yeah, someone near all the, um, delightful sex stores taking Pokémon pictures. I enjoyed that.
LG: That sounds like a euphemism. I've yet to see all of the VCs going up and down Sand Hill Road hunting for Pokémon, but …
KS: Yeah, I think it's an urban thing.
SO: Yeah, I think it's definitely big in the urban center. It's also... what's funny is that people have been praising it as this big social thing, and it is! That's a big reason why it's been growing so fast. It's a lot like Snapchat in that you need to ask other people what things mean and how to play and everything. But I think the most important thing that a lot of people haven't talked about is that this is not a social network. You don't have to create a ... like, you create a Twitter account, you feel like you have to be clever or, you know, serve some sort of purpose with what you tweet. You create an Instagram account and you feel like you have to take beautiful photos. This you create an account, but no one really sees who you are. You just get to sort of explore the game almost anonymously, and the gyms are really the only social account aspect in it. But otherwise, you get to go ... sure you're walking around in the real world, but, like, you are putting out this completely alone-to-you experience. And I think that's a huge part of it. Like people don't feel quite as vulnerable as they might on another social network.
KS: Yeah, I'm gonna start mugging people who are doing it.
SO: That's another one of the things that's supposedly happening.
KS: Ya gotta watch out, yeah. All right, so let's get some listener questions. Lauren, can you start?
LG: Yes! The first one is from Daniel Ferris, that's @DFerris0125 on Twitter, and he asks, "Which Pokémon did you start with?" I have mine open right here on my phone because I took a screen grab. A Charmander appeared in front of my cat the other night. So I grabbed that. Kara! If you could only see the eye roll ... I'm surprised the eye roll that Kara just gave me didn't just go through the microphone. Sean, what about you, what was the first one you got?
SO: I started with Bulbasaur, though I'm not enthralled with that decision.
LG: I don't even ... yeah, is it a decision? Well, I guess it is, ‘cause you can walk around.
SO: It depends. I think it glitched out for a lot of people when they started. What's supposed to happen when you open up the app for the first time and get going is it's supposed to give you ... it kind of surrounds you with three of them and so you choose which one to tap on — the three starter Pokémon, that is.
LG: Oh! I don't remember seeing that!
KS: I've caught none. I've got zero. That's gonna remain my number. My gym ... I'm gonna win the gym experience. Okay, what is the best Pokémon? The great white Pokémon? The unicorn Pokémon? What is it?
SO: Man, I was always a fan ... and this is like the meta answer, which is annoying, but there's this Pokémon called Voltor which is basically just an anthropomorphic Pokéball, and like, you catch Pokémon with a Pokéball. I always thought that was really funny, that there was this living version of the tool that people used in the game to catch things.
KS: But are there higher Pokémons than others, like more rare ones, right?
SO: Yeah, there's ... Mew and Mew 2 are the legendary, sort of mystical ones that were impossible to catch in the first games, and as far as we can tell, they're not even in this game yet, but I'm sure we'll get there.
KS: Yet! I'm sure they're lurking out there somewhere, behind a shrub.
SO: Yeah, exactly!
LG: The next question ... so we received a few questions about privacy. This one is from David V, @The0DD1 on Twitter. What type of data is Niantic collecting from the camera and is my private info secure? So tell us a little bit about what was going on there in the game's early days.
SO: Usually when you start up a new app — and especially when you're logging in with a new Gmail account to sort of skip that sort of loathsome setup process for accounts on apps — it usually presents you with an option to allow certain access to that account that you're using, and it didn't really do that with a lot of people. It just sort of made it seem like you were signing in with Gmail at the most surface level, whereas after the fact, people went through and saw that it actually had full access, so it could theoretically see your emails or see the content of stuff that you have on your Gmail account. They pushed an update today that has changed that. It was also super inconsistent. I looked through my Gmail account, and it hadn't given all that access to Niantic. So it's kind of hard to peg down exactly how much access they might have had to people's accounts or not..
KS: So how much data ... do we know how much data Nintendo or Niantic are collecting about users at this point?
SO: I mean, you can certainly imagine what they would have access to as far as just, like, location of users, maybe what they're seeing with their cameras and things like that. But both sides of this equation are being really tight lipped about this right now. And you can imagine why. It's been the first question that a lot of the press has been asking in the early days, aside from just the sort of wow factor that the phenomenon is, what exactly are they getting from us out of this equation other than just money? And it's kind of hard to peg down, but as far as you can tell, they might have location data on someone who's walking around playing the game, but they might not necessarily know who that person is. It's probably more looking at the total number and the total sort of pattern of people's play.
LG: Right, until something happens and then someone needs to do an investigation into what that person is doing during an event, and then they say, Pokémon on their phone, right? They were driving and ...
KS: It’s gonna be a "Law and Order" episode.
SO: And you were talking about funny stories that we've seen so far. One of the ones that actually seems to be true is one that ... what it does in the app is it will sort of log all your activity, saying, like, oh, three days ago at 3:40 pm you caught this Pokémon! Or, later that evening you went to this one PokéStop. Someone had looked at his or her boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s ... significant other’s Pokémon Go account and seen that they had caught something at a place that was, you know, near some other person's house and realized that ...
LG: Uh oh! Busted! No, they got caught cheating!
KS: What if you caught a picture of someone being murdered while you were Pokémon-ing?
SO: I'm sure. I mean it's like monkeys typing Shakespeare — it's gonna happen, right?
KS: It's totally an episode of "Law and Order."
LG: Well, someone sent me a screen grab last night of a Nextdoor posting, and in the Nextdoor posting this man was offering to drive people's children around to collect Pokémon Go. Charging a fee and saying, "Don't worry, I'll feed your kids lunch!" And I was like, this is everything your mother ever warned you about. Like, do not get in that man's car.
KS: Thank you for that lovely thought, as a mother of two boys, thank you so much. "Will Ingress Core be more flexible about adding new waypoints, gyms, any day soon and in Europe?" says Mareks Matisons, @marruciic. More gyms? More flexible?
LG: Yeah! And what about in Europe? Do we know anything about that?
SO: Well, I think what's gonna happen here is they're definitely gonna start messing with that sort of pool of data that creates all these gyms and all these PokéStops. Because what they basically did was they took all the stuff that had been built out from Ingress, which was a lot of user generated stuff, and maybe some API stuff, as far as like restaurants and things like that, and they just gave that all to Pokémon Go. It just like basically got dragged directly over, which has led to some really awkward, sort of very almost like anachronistic ... like it feels very weird to see some stuff in Pokémon Go that had come over from Ingress. So like the 9/11 memorial or the Holocaust Museum ... there are these places that you would think wouldn't show up in the game, but they are, and it's definitely caused a bit of a rift, so they're gonna go in and clean up that stuff I'm sure, which means that they're probably gonna be adding new stuff. There's also a business incentive there, too. If you're a bar and you're not one of the PokéStops or a gym, but you could go pay Niantic Labs to become one to draw people to your place of business. That's money for them to make, and it sort of benefits everybody else if everybody's in on it. So, they're definitely gonna be changing that.
LG: It's like what Foursquare has been trying to do for like five years now.
SO: Yeah, this is basically Foursquare's biggest missed opportunity is Pokémon Go!
LG: Yeah, i can't decide if it's Foursquare’s, or Fitbit’s, or …
KS: Read the last one, Lauren
LG: Oh, this one is fantastic. This one is from TC Sottek, @chillmage on Twitter. He is one of our excellent news editors at The Verge, and he asks, "Kara! As mayor of San Francisco, will you regulate Pokéstop zoning?"
KS: I will put an end to Pokémon Go. If that will get me votes from the normal people, I shall do that.
LG: What if implementing zoning will get you votes?
KS: Then I will do that.
LG: You're such a fair weather ...
SO: She's gotta represent the people!
[talking over each other]
LG: You're gonna send your Pokémon to a private server. And then ... [laughing]
KS: I'd like to Pokémon Go him [referring to N.J. Gov. Chris Christie]. He should Pokémon leave the scene.
LG: Pokémon leave!!
KS: Pokémon get out! Anyway, that was my political opinion about Chris Christie, which I think many people agree with.
LG: Well that is lovely.
KS: Alright! GoPro... yeah briefly, cuz I was just having breakfast at the lovely Katz's deli in the lower east side with the lovely Lauren Zalaznick who was on the new Board Map. We talked quite a lot about GoPro. Sean, what are your thoughts about what's going on there?
SO: This is a really fascinating company to me because they're in the middle of the biggest transition that they have faced and that they're gonna face, really, which is that they've built up this pretty huge empire on the back of hardware and how you use that hardware, and up until really not too long ago they had almost nobody working in-house on software. They started to take their own crack at it by building sort of the firmware on some of their most popular cameras, like when they really started to get popular with the Hero3, and they weren't really doing too well with it. They weren't really proud of what they were doing so the went out and started acting like a really big Silicon Valley company and just hired a bunch of companies. Now they actually have a dedicated software staff of over 100 people working on a whole bunch of different projects, and they're still focused on big hardware releases? They have a new camera coming out hopefully by the end of the year — the Hero5.
KS: Yeah, they screwed up last year's release, correct?
SO: Yeah, it's gonna be at least two years in between flagship releases by the time the Hero5 comes out, and that's a long gap for hardware.
KS: And there also might be saturation in the camera market. Their biggest competitor went into bankruptcy, correct?
SO: They're facing a lot more competition than they were when they released the Hero4, that's for sure.
KS: No, not just that but — what's the, it's Ion? Icon?
SO: Oh, Contour. Yeah. Contour sort of faded. They were the biggest competition back in the Hero2 and Hero3 days, and then they faded. Then Ion, yeah, has had ... But there's a bunch of startups, and other companies sort of crossing into different areas of hardware. Garmin and TomTom — companies known for navigation systems — jumped into fitness, and now they're both making action cameras and they're both really good.
KS: They've become a commodity.
LG: And Sony, too.
KS: Either a commodity or it becomes something that is a fad, too.
LG: Well, or you do what Apple did which is, you know, they tie people to their services, so you're not just buying Apple hardware, but you're tying people to iCloud, you're getting them into subscriptions, you have them using things like iTunes, but the problem is ...
KS: And they made [inaudible] which so far, where they added Lauren who was a former NBC executive in charge of shows like Top Chef and other things.
LG: So the question is whether or not GoPro can get people, can make money off of tying people to its software services.
KS: And also it's a question whether its founder will stay the CEO, or if Tony from Skype will take over. There's all kinds of questions.
SO: Yeah, they have a lot of talent up in that top end of it.
KS: That's in the air, that idea of whether Tony who was brought in to help sort of make a business out of it will be getting a CEO job from Nick.
SO: Yeah, and I spoke with him, so I wrote a big feature about this whole shift that they're going through for The Verge that published a couple weeks ago, and I spoke with Tony Bates out in California, but it didn't really make it into the piece so much. It's interesting to see a guy who had been in sort of the software side of the industry —
SO: — for so long, yeah, with Skype and everything — be very about this brand, and very about what they were doing. He didn't really sound like he was there, and sort of an adviser role with permanent salary, he really-sounds like he could be someone that would run that company.
KS: Well, I think that was the deal when he came in, I think that was probably, a little side that he was eventually gonna take over, and that sometimes doesn't happen, and then ...
LG: If Nick Woodman were to leave, what do you think the timeline would be?
KS: He would become chief product officer, that's the rumor. And then the stock is getting hit because of all kinds of uncertainty around earnings and revenues and they've gone, obviously, not profitable, and they were formerly profitable ...
SO: And the other big hardware release for later this year is their drone, and they delayed that. That was supposed to be out by now.
LG: Sean, do you use a GoPro a lot?
SO: Yeah. I bring it with me on trips. I don't use it in everyday life as much. It's a thing that — especially the Hero4 Session, which is the really small cubed camera, that they really botched the launch of? You know, last year that camera got released and they priced it at $400 which ... It's a camera that's definitely less capable than either of the Hero4, the silver or black. I think they picked that price because they were afraid of cannibalizing the sales of all their lower-end cameras, which ranged from $129 to $300, and it wound up not working anyways because they killed off all those lower-end cameras, and now the Hero4 Session is $200.
KS: What's the 5 supposedly gonna have in it?
SO: I mean, there are a lot of rumors flying, but, you know, up to AK filming, maybe in camera stabilization — they haven't had that in their cameras before, not even software stabilization. So that's gonna be a big thing. They're supposedly working on, well, Nick Woodman said they're working on a consumer's spherical camera as well. Some people think that that could just be the Hero5. I don't think that that's true. It's just gonna be basically bigger and better.
KS: He showed off technology at Code last year about that, right? The spherical cameras?
LG: I hope it has a display — I mean if it's not the spherical camera, if it's one of the more standard format — because I always liked the silver more than the black because it actually had a display. Otherwise you look at it on your phone and you have some element of control there, but, and something that maybe is a little bit ... you can control the lighting a little bit more. Have you ever used a GoPro?
KS: No. I mean yes, I've used it for work stuff, I've seen how it works, but the idea that they were gonna turn into a media company was interesting for 14 seconds. We'll see if they continue.
SO: Yeah, they have gone down that sort of Red Bull path, a little bit.
KS: They're trying.
LG: Unless you're doing really interesting things — unless you're a videographer who's using it for professional video purposes, or you're doing super interesting things — it's really hard to get compelling footage.
KS: CNBC wanted me to put a GoPro on my head and walk around all day and that was a show.
LG: There's a question of whether or not that would be compelling or interesting. I would want to put it in your office at 1 o'clock in the morning when you make your late-night phone calls to people.
KS: Oh that's true. No, they wanted me to just go around and be rude to people.
LG: Just walk around, maybe.
KS: So let's get some questions from listeners!
LG: Alright! We have a couple questions that we did want to answer. The first one is from Will Robertson, @WillRobertsn on Twitter. He asks, "Are more camera, GoPro, etc., gonna include LTE?" And he cites the LG Action Cam LTE as an example. Sean, what do you think? Will GoPro have LTE ever?
SO: Yeah, I think that's probably in the cards for this next one. For Hero5. And if it's not — if it doesn't have some sort of livestreaming capability then that's a huge swing and miss for GoPro. Obviously they came out with a partnership with Periscope last year, they were sort of the first camera you could plug into Periscope that wasn't your phone. And that sort of worked alright, but they've been so blown past by FaceBook Live — and Facebook Live's integration with other cameras now, too — that GoPro really needs to be a one-stop shop.
KS: Facebook Live is a big risk also.
LG: You have to wonder, though, if something like that were to happen, the camera itself has LTE — are you interacting on the camera? Like, am I sticking a camera here and pressing a button and it's streaming and it's LTE, or am I just sticking it somewhere and then I'm going onto my phone and I'm controlling everything from there.
KS: Facebook Live does answer a lot of questions for people if they can get things that are linked.
LG: But there would have to be native applications built then for the camera, and whether or not these media companies want to do that. These streaming and video companies is the question.
SO: I would think it would be a little bit of ... you'd be able to do it straight from the camera without touching your phone just like you can use the Hero4 Black, for example. But you'd also be able to get in your phone on the app and mess around with settings. Maybe set a data limit if you don't want to go because you're gonna need — if it's an LTE chip in that card you're gonna need a plan for that. There's actually a company that had a pretty successful Kickstarter that has started shipping units, called Sioeye, that is already doing this. They have a GoPro-shaped camera. It uses LTE inside. You have to get a data plan for that chip, but it's one of the first real livestreaming action cameras that's on the market right now. Just not quite so thoroughly built-out a system as a GoPro.
KS: Um, this thing. Vincent M. Rubino, @VincentMRubino. "You don't have to answer this. I'd be interested in the GoPro drone. Any plans for that? I do a lot of hiking and think it would be neat." I think there's gonna be drones everywhere. What about you, Sean?
LG: I like how he says that would be neat for hiking. Like he'd rather have a drone overhead than just attach it to himself.
KS: It might get better views.
LG: Yeah, that's true.
KS: I like drones better.
LG: I wish I had one on the Napoli coast a few weeks ago
KS: Yeah, that would have been pretty, because you'd send it out ...
LG: Yeah, and I probably would have lost it and then lost $1000, and — uh, sorry Sean. We're getting off topic. Drones!
SO: We've known for a while — right on the Code Conference stage, right? Where Nick Woodward announced that they were gonna be working on a drone and we learned later last year that the reason for GoPro really breaking out and doing its own thing is because a partnership with DJI sort of broke down, and they were gonna build one with them, but yeah, GoPro plans to release this drone. It's called "Karma." We don't know much else about it, they've sort of teased some details, maybe it will include the ability to shoot in 360 degrees. It's gonna have stabilization, that's one of the few things they've actually said. I think it's gonna be modular, it's gonna be something that will let you use any of your GoPros back to like the Hero3 on it. Because they're so big on accessorisation. That's really all we know other than that we're getting to the point where we're hopefully gonna find out.
KS: How are the other drone companies doing? Like Lily and the others.
SO: A lot of the startups still don't have it out there, you know? It's basically DJI, 3D Robotics, which has deep ties with GoPro. I think a lot of people are surprised that GoPro didn't just buy them outright and make their drone the GoPro drone. And it'll be interesting to see when GoPro does unveil the Karma how different it is from something like 3D Robotics. So you can get a sense of why they went in their own direction. But yeah, it's kind of just those few at the top right now. And no one else. If you're looking for a drone you know enough probably about drones that you know that DJI's probably got the best one. So GoPro's gonna be the one. I think they're gonna aim a little less at sort of the filmmakers that DJI really appeals to and it's gonna be something that actually would benefit this person who asked this question where it's — I think it's gonna be much more along the lines of this is gonna be a personal kind of thing you could bring with you on a hike, it'll follow you and lock onto you and film you so that you don't really have to think too much about what it's filming. It will just do that for you.
LG: I love that idea. I love the idea of something — I know there are a couple that are doing this now on a smaller scale, but something that will just follow you around and you don't even have to control it. Until the robot overlords take over and then it swoops down and chops you up. I have a drone coming to me right now that I'm pretty — you wanna go drone flying with me this weekend?!
KS: No! Not even slightly.
LG: Someone in New York, from The Verge in New York, is loaning it to me. It's a Solo Smart Drone. The 3DR. I'm totally gonna go crash it. No, I really hope I don't.
KS: Did you see the episode of "Black Mirror" when everyone had essentially tapes in their eyes and then they could play back the great moments of their lives?
LG: What was this?
KS: It was "Black Mirror," it's a great show.
SO: That was a terrifying episode. I mean they're sort of all [terrifying], that's like kind of the point.
KS: They're all awful. They're fantastically awful, but that was upsetting, they could record everything. They had recording devices in their eyes in some way and then they could play it back and so it ranged from a lot of things — it was quite thought provoking. And then a guy eventually took it out, correct, because he didn't want to recount old times.
SO: And then there's people who don't have them and they're sort of like the hipsters, like "oh you don't have one? that's amazing, how do you live your life?"
LG: You actually said one time you would like that. You said you'd want to go back and tell people you were right.
KS: Oh yes, that's true, I could do that. I could just replay that. You're right, that's actually a plus.
SO: Maybe GoPro's drone will let you do that.
KS: You should watch that "Black Mirror" episode. Try not to watch the first one.
SO: Or it'll just let you livestream you playing Pokémon Go.
KS: The first one. Should she watch the first episode of the first season? I don't think Lauren can take that one. With the Prime Minister and the pig.
LG: I am so delicate.
SO: I would skip it.
KS: There's some action with the Prime Minister and the pig, you're not gonna want to deal with that one, I'm just telling you.
LG: There's a Brexit joke somewhere, let's just say.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.