Tencent, the maker of WeChat, China’s most popular messaging app, has opened its eagerly awaited Ying drone for pre-order, with the drone being available from October 30th. As one of the country’s three leading tech titans, Tencent has teamed up with Zerotech, a local hardware start-up, to rival the likes of recently unveiled DJI Mavic Pro and GoPro’s Karma at a fraction of the price — one third to be exact.
First announced in January at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, the $300 drone is smashing its way into the booming compact-drone market. Ying’s integrated camera is capable of shooting 4K video, to ensure those extra crisp selfies for WeChat. The drone’s producers weren’t lying when they advertised “easy storage”, with the drone’s four rotators simply folding for easy storage. Finally, if that isn’t tempting enough, unlike the DJI Mavic, the drone can be controlled from an iOS/Android app, offering “motion control”, with the drone mimicking the movement of the phone!
Recent drone innovations are expensive, GoPro’s Karma, available on October 23, is priced at $719.99 and DJI Mavic Pro at $999. New designs, featuring flatter, slimmer bodies have been replicated by most recent releases, and Ying is not an exception. “Designed for travel, the 425g Ying drone can follow you wherever you go, or fly according to a designated route,” noted All China Tech, “It can fold up neatly to be carried in a bag.” Of course, with Zero Tech securing a $23 million investment from backers such as Qualcomm, this drone was never going to be a disappointment.
For all the developments in the consumer market, with Xiaomi unveiling their answer to the drone craze in May, there hasn’t been much in the way of commercial drones. “It may be a while before drones are regularly used for deliveries,” said CCTV America, “But professional drone pilots are hot in demand.” South Korea is now home to DJI China’s first “drone-training arena”. DJI’s most popular course being flying a drone with a camera.
With Ying’s full sale date rapidly approaching, it is being questioned whether the drone will live up to its rivals. Unfortunately, the battery lives of all drone models are still rather short.
Hey, who needs more than 15-20 minutes action anyway?
By Seamus Gibson
[Images via, Tech In Asia / DJI]