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GoPro's Q4 earnings go big thanks to Hero 4 sales

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GoPro just posted the results of its holiday quarter, which included a full three months of sales of its latest camera lineup. The company reported earnings of 99 cents a share on revenue of $633.9 million, far above both what it forecast in October and what investors were expecting, thanks to strong sales of its latest cameras.

GoPro said it shipped 2.4 million units during the quarter, up nearly a million from the 1.42 million shipped during the same period last year, and more than it actually ended up selling for all of 2012. That also equaled out to about 1,000 cameras sold to retailers per hour during the quarter, GoPro founder and CEO Nick Woodman said in a statement.

The first quarter with big new products

The results came in above what both Wall Street and GoPro were expecting. Analysts polled by Yahoo Finance anticipated earnings of 70 cents per share on $580.33 million in revenue. GoPro's own forecast called for earnings between 65 to 69 cents a share on revenue between $550 million and $580 million.

For the next quarter, GoPro says it plans to bring in earnings between 15 and 17 cents per share on revenue of $330 to 340 million. That's on the high end of the 17 cents per share, but well ahead of the $324.75 million in revenue that analysts were expecting ahead of the results.

GoPro's chief operating officer is leaving

While momentus, GoPro had some bad news. Its chief operating officer Nina Richardson announced her resignation earlier this week, something that goes into effect February 27th. Richardson's been with the company since 2013, and had stints at Flextronics and Hewlett-Packard. GoPro is not naming a replacement, with Woodman saying that he'd handle COO duties with GoPro president Tony Bates and chief financial officer Jack Lazar.

GoPro introduced new models of its Hero cameras in September, putting them on sale in October (which is when this quarter began). Notable in that lineup was the addition of a $129 entry-level model, opening up GoPro's products to a wider range of buyers. GoPro also made its lower-tiered Silver model surprisingly attractive versus its top-of-the-line Black version by adding a touchscreen display.

Everyone got freaked out about Apple making its own GoPro

Even with the new cameras, GoPro's stock has been sagging over the past three months, including a large drop in January following the publishing of an Apple patent for a GoPro-like mountable action camera. While not an expected product from Cupertino, the patent stated weaknesses in GoPro's system, including susceptibility to vibration, sending GoPro's stock plummeting by 13 percent.

Besides earnings, GoPro announced a new partnership with Roku that will put GoPro's video channel on its set top boxes in the Spring. GoPro already has similar deals with LG and Microsoft, highlighting videos shot on its cameras, as well as ways for people to buy the hardware directly.