GoPro's latest HERO 9 Black firmware update brings with it compatibility with the Open GoPro platform – a new API that means 3rd party companies and apps will be able to create software that interacts with these leading action cams. The v1.6 update is available to download now via the Quik app.
Open GoPro means that, in essence, any developer will now be able to write software that controls or interacts with the GoPro Hero 9 Black. The API grants developers access to the cam's wireless connectivity, commands, status, preview, and SD card media review and transfer – although features such as the camera's video feed are still off-limits. These hugely capable cams dominate our best action camera ranking. There's very little today's best GoPros can't do – but it'll be interesting to see if and how other major companies take advantage of the new API.
With the announcement, GoPro also reported a number of companies who are already working with Open API, giving us a taster of the kind of cool integrations it opens the door to. Examples include Amazfit (wirelessly control your cam from the touchscreen on your Amazfit smartwatch!), Orqa (see your drone-mounted GoPro's status through the brand's FPV goggles!) and Sena (control your motorcycle-mounted GoPro, by voice, from your headset!).
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While the API is still in its early days, and currently only works with the Hero 9 Black (the latest flagship, launched October 2020), if that news is anything to go by, we're hopeful we could be seeing more creative and helpful integrations between everyone's favourite action cams and more of the best smartwatches, bike computers and drones.
The Open API concept is in fact not brand new – it's pretty much the same idea as the GoPro Developer Program of five years past. Just like this API, that initiative aimed to enable companies to create a seamless integration between their own products and GoPro's. However, in reality, companies were required to set up a partnership with GoPro, which brought with it a variety of complications. Only a few brands got involved before the project died a death. The rebooted version of the concept does not require brands to partner with GoPro; it's open to anyone with enough coding knowledge to figure out what they're doing.
The v1.6 also brings with it some welcome tweaks in performance and usability, including improved touchscreen sensitivity on menus, faster on/off response and better connectivity with the recently launched Quik app.
Find out more, and explore demos and sample code on the Open GoPro site.