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The consumer electronics hall of fame: DJI Phantom drone

The DJI Phantom drone is the unmanned aircraft that catapulted DJI to become the dominant drone manufacturer. Frank Wang who was still a student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology when he co-founded DJI in 2006. Even now when we are in the later stages of the Phantom 4 lifecycle, the Phantom is still the drone that does it all for a very reasonable price.

DJI Phantom drone

Brian Santo writes for IEEE Spectrum:

“Dozens of companies vied to build the first commercially successful recreational drone; the competition was won by a Chinese engineer barely out of adolescence.

DJI’s original Phantom drone was a remarkable piece of engineering, but if the little flier’s engineering and marketing hadn’t reinforced each other, DJI never would have soared to the top of the commercial drone market.

The company needed to identify markets, and in doing so it took a brilliant tack: It began to catalog the uses not for drones but for flight in general. The list included cinematography, agriculture, energy-sector inspection, infrastructure and construction, and emergency response. Then DJI developed a marketing plan for each of those applications.

GPS would enable the drone to remain stationary when aloft, and GPS was also the basis for a feature that would let the drone return to its original launch site should it lose a signal from the remote control. More than a few drones were lost that way before DJI made the use of GPS standard on hobbyist drones.

Priced at $629, the Phantom was DJI’s first fully assembled model and among the first drones designed explicitly for consumers.”

You can read the entire article here.


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Avatar for Haye Kesteloo Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek. Haye can be reached at or @hayekesteloo