Yi might be a fly that GoPro can’t swat, but the Chinese company’s weakness so far has been everything beyond specs. Its action cameras aren’t as user-friendly, even if they’re typically cheaper. And, in the case of Yi’s first attempt at a mirrorless camera, they can sometimes be so frustrating that they don’t seem worth the savings. The Yi 360 VR will be available in limited release in June, so we’ll have to wait until at least then to find out of the trend continues.

Both cameras, meanwhile, will come to the US before making it to Yi’s home base of China. Yi CEO Sean Da tells The Verge that, while he expects Chinese VR viewership to boom in the coming years, this is because the majority of “high performance, high quality video creators are still US or European creators.”
To that end, the Yi Halo will be available starting today as part of a limited access program called Jump Start. As part of the program, Google will take applications from filmmakers to receive access to a Jump camera rig and unlimited use of the its Jump Assembler cloud service. Google plans to give out 100 of the Yi Halo cameras to help boost VR filmmaking, and the application process will be open until May 22nd.

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