According to a report by The Information, Snap, the company behind Snapchat, is planning to continue its push into hardware devices with a new pair of augmented-reality glasses and a drone. The Spectacles will reportedly include displays so the wearer can see the AR effects without using their phone — a feature that was notably missing from all the Spectacles that came before.
One of The Information’s sources says that the new Spectacles will be meant for developers and creators rather than consumers — though you could probably argue that, at $380, the Spectacles 3 are already mostly limited to that market as well. As the article points out, though, the intention is likely to have the developers make lenses and experiences that consumers will use at some point in the future.
If the new Spectacles act as an AR headset, it could culminate what the company has been working towards with the first three versions of the product. Currently, the Spectacles are mainly captured devices, acting as head-mounted cameras with the bulk of the processing being done on the user’s phone. This hasn’t necessarily been a recipe for success: the company lost $40 million when it was stuck with the original pair’s unsold inventory, and the company’s hardware head left shortly after the second-generation glasses came out.
If the reports about the new Spectacles are true, it could indicate that Snap isn’t backing down from its hardware dreams — the company’s CEO has said that AR hardware will be part of what defines Snap at the end of this decade. If it wants to continue pushing its AR glasses, it seems like it will have to contend with competition from Apple and Facebook’s likes— both companies seem to be developing their own face-mounted wearables.
As for the drone, there’s precious little information about it. There have been rumors about Snap working on a drone for years, and back in 2017, it acquired a drone company. The Information also reports that Snap invested $20 million into a Chinese drone company as well. There’s no information on when the drone will ship, but the report’s sources say that it’s recently been made the priority of Snap Lab, a hardware group at Snap.