As audacious as the title may sound it will soon be a reality come the 31st of October when Tencent, owners of WeChat, launch their own “Ying” drone which is capable of live streaming directly to WeChat.
Not only is this drone the first of its kind, it is also rumoured to be to be the cheapest 4K drone on the market at $299 with 720p live streaming capabilities directly to WeChat, weighing in at less than less 500g comfortably fitting in a standard backpack.
Popular tech blog Recode reported that this is the first drone to be made by a social media platform for the purpose of sharing footage directly with other users. The project is a partnership between China’s most valuable company Tencent and global wireless telecommunications product and service provider Qualcomm (if you have ever re-installed drivers you have probably come across this name).
WeChat, which is the biggest social media platform in China is WhatsApps biggest competitor worldwide. In terms of technology, WeChat is miles ahead of WhatsApp as it has long since adopted features like:
- Video Calling
- Verified Accounts (WeChat for Business)
- WeChat Games
- WeChat Apps within WeChat
- QR code scanning to promote brands
- Ability of brands to create a mini-website within WeChat itself
WeChat has always been at the forefront of adopting technologies creating an all-inclusive social media experience within a single app. However, it has struggled to find its footing in Zimbabwe, possibly due to the early introduction of social media bundles favouring WhatsApp use.
Mobile operators most likely saw WeChat as a more data intensive app in comparison to WhatsApp at that time, but as WhatsApp grows and plays catch up (and social media bundles grow smaller) that assumption may soon change.
The introduction of a drone that streams directly to chats is another show of how tech savvy WeChat is over WhatsApp which is still figuring out Video Calling and WhatsApp for business. The live streaming will increase engagement and the low cost of the drone will likely see a rise in drone owners, at least in China.
It is still unknown whether the drone will be made available internationally but the technology is definitely worth admiring. Drone regulations in Zimbabwe are still strict and almost impossible to get around, so this may be yet another tech advancement that may not see the light of day in Zimbabwe, just to have a drone one needs a drone license, pilot license, pilot’s radio license, fire extinguisher, 1st Aid kit etc as well as a cool $5000 fee to BAZ to acquire a streaming license!