On May 1st, a beloved staple and innovator of the Tiny Whoop community, NewBeedrone, made its return after its surprising 1 year anniversary sale at the end of March that also turned into a sort of “going out of business” sale when they also announced they had been acquired.
And then they went dark. Support was still rolling though, and they didn’t entirely abandon their community.
But as I said they were back, and there is some buzz (hah – get it?) in the community once again about these guys. But what can we say about them today?
First and foremost, it’s good to see the return of a lot of their staple products to the market. Even though I myself am starting to move away from being as Whoop-heavy, I absolutely love their batteries being a reasonable balance between quality, cost, and power. The BeeBrain is back too – the first board to bring Betaflight to the Whoops and really inspire more a trend with other boards that parroted and took it a step up like the Acrowhoop and the Beecore.
Also returned is their foray into micro brushless, with their own 4S 550 & 850 mAh Lipos and many of the staple products seen on micros. Their Stingerbee 120 frame is sadly missing though
So while I’m glad to see their staple products back, and I’m hopeful to see what they do to innovate over the next year, I do have some trepidation. While NewBeeDrone has always sold products they themselves don’t make, there does seem to be a lot more of it on their site now. What was a great site to go to for very cool, innovative products is now flooded with lots of staple products that many vendors import from Gearbest & Banggood and then resell.
This isn’t bad entirely. For example, they’re one of the many vendors out there selling the new Emax Babyhawk but one of the few selling its replacement motors & props. Combining this with NewBeeDrone’s reputation for speed and customer service, then you’ve got a potentially winning combination.
But this almost feels like a dilution of a solid brand, and as an old man who yells at clouds it is something that takes something that was great and makes it.. less.
Keeping NewBeeDrone Great
Here’s the thing though about old men who yell about change: We’re often wrong, and when we step back and think about why the changes we may see why it was necessary. You see, it’s all well and good for me to grouse that they should just stick to their unique products, but to be honest their products AREN’T unique anymore. There are more batteries out for the Whoop out there than I can name, many of them re-brands of the same, and a pilot looking for just quantity over quality will gravitate to the cheapest one they haven’t heard of exploding on someone yet (yes – it DOES happen with 1S packs). And the board that made their name has a half dozen competitors many of which are at half the cost.
What diversity in their product line does lets them re-align their core business and focus on the BIG thing that makes NBD great: Customer service. That’s the key thing. I’ve seen people complain about RaceDayQuads’ service, or about how slow TinyWhoop is to get packages out, but NBD – not a peep. So then focus on service, sell the other products that keep the business going, and then they can use the profits from that to try and continue to innovate.
So pilots, give them a try again. And let’s see where the next year takes them!