ARTICLE BY ALEXIS MACKLIN
Samsung announced on May 24 a new retail price for its 360-degree camera, Gear 360. The new price of $229 is a $100 reduction from the release price of $349.
The updated camera was mostly a re-focus of the previous camera. The camera has slight improvements, the biggest being a handle. The video quality The camera also added iPhone compatibility, 4k resolution and live streaming on Facebook and YouTube, all of which was not previously capable. The camera can shoot up to 60 fps on a single lens, but this is decreased to 24 fps when using both.
The updates on the camera seem to solve a usability issue when the camera was initially released in 2016. Gear 360 was targeted at the consumer market but was not user-friendly. The circular camera was not easy to set up for recording, resulting in many consumers having to use a tripod. As an emerging consumer device, 360-degree cameras have been a hard sell for consumers who have little videography experience. The tripod as an extra mechanic to solve would too much for consumers who just want to casually shoot 360-degree videos. Videography enthusiasts can still attach a tripod is wanted on the bottom of the handle.
The newest Gear 360 is Samsung's direct response to leading consumer cameras manufactured by Insta360 and Ricoh. Ricoh and Insta360 retail their cameras for lower prices at $300 and $130 respectively. Samsung's lower price would be to better compete with these manufacturers. The price was also expected to drop as the older Gear 360 camera was retailing at $300.
Insta360 and Ricoh also offered a better ease of use. Insta360's Nano and Air would act as smartphone accessories, clipping onto Android and Apple smartphones. Ricoh Theta S and SC were also easily graspable and easy to use for handheld videography. All cameras were compatible with both Android and Apple phones and live streamed to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.
Previously, Gear 360 was only compatible with specific Samsung phones and did not live stream. In addition to expanding its potential customer markets, live streaming capabilities will be a significant benefit to brand exposure. Social media is one of the biggest platforms for 360-degree video with users all over the world able to view content. Live streaming is another feature that will help Samsung stand out.
Samsung's 2016 Gear 360 was an awkward 360-degree solution. Prosumers looked for better resolution, live streaming capabilities, and more versatility in fixing the stitching quality. Consumers were intimidated by the process of using the camera and were limited on smartphone compatibility. With the new camera, Samsung has better-positioned Gear 360 in the consumer market, catching up to market leaders.