By Subrat Patnaik and Rohit T. K.
(Reuters) - Digital Ally Inc <DGLY.O>, a maker of wearable video cameras and other security products for police forces, is considering launching action cameras aimed at consumers this year, putting it into direct competition with GoPro Inc <GPRO.O>.
Chief Executive Stanton Ross said Digital Ally might have such a camera ready for a "soft launch" in the third quarter.
"We are clearly exploring those opportunities right now," he told Reuters in an interview. "We believe that we have products that may fit real nicely into that market."
More than 9 million point-of-view camcorders were sold worldwide last year, up 21 percent from 2013, according to IDC, a market research firm that specializes in technology. Sales are forecast to increase by a further 15 percent this year.
GoPro, which makes cameras that can be fixed to helmets, bicycles and surf boards, had around a 60 percent share of this market as of the third quarter last year, according to IDC.
It's a market that has also attracted the attention of Apple Inc <AAPL.O>. The iPhone maker was granted a patent on Tuesday for a wearable camera that could be mounted on bike helmets and scuba masks.
Asked whether Digital Ally plans to enter this market, Ross said: "I need to make sure that we have the capabilities to play in that arena."
"We believe we do, but I've got to do some more due diligence before we head down that path."
Digital Ally gets about 90 percent of its revenue from law-enforcement agencies. Orders from U.S. police departments for its wearable surveillance cameras have increased since the riots in Ferguson, Missouri last year.
The Lenexa, Kansas-based company, which competes with Taser International Inc <TASR.O>, also sells its cameras to truckers, taxi operators and ambulance companies.
Digital Ally's Nasdaq-listed stock has risen 34 percent in the last 12 months, as of Wednesday's close of $13.24.
Ross said it was too early to divulge technical details of any possible new camera. Asked about its price, he said a "happy balance" would probably lie somewhere between $195 and $295.
GoPro sells its entry-level camera, HERO, for $129.99. Its high-end HERO4 Black, which can shoot 4K resolution videos, is priced at $499.99, according to the company's website.
Privately owned Polaroid makes Cube, a colorful, pocket-sized action camera costing $99.99, according to its website.
(Editing by Robin Paxton and Joyjeet Das)