News of a stealthy hardware project by Snapchat first hit the internet in March when CNET published a report that said the startup was recruiting wearable technology experts.
The theory put forward at the time was that the device would be a pair of augmented reality eyewear built on technology Snapchat obtained in its 2014 acquisition of Vergence Labs, a startup that made a Google Glass-type device with video recording capabilities. Backing up that idea was a picture of CEO Evan Spiegel on vacation published by Business Intelligence where it appears he could be wearing a prototype model — a pair of black sunglasses with circular cameras at the edges and thick frames to hide the battery.
Now the Financial Times has spotted Snapchat’s entry into the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), indicating that Snapchat’s hardware device is now one step closer to becoming a reality, as well as the fact that it will likely connect to smartphones.
There are no strong indications of what exactly Snapchat’s potential augmented reality glasses might be used for, but, knowing Snapchat, it could be for something as simple as just seeing its filters — for instance, the popular rainbow barf option — overlaid on your friends’ faces in real life.
A hardware device could be a good strategic move for Snapchat, which is currently facing stiff competition from Instagram, which recently released a feature called Stories that copies much of the app’s core functionalities.
Instagram has a larger user-base of 300 million daily active users, while Snapchat purportedly has 150 million, according to an early June report from Bloomberg.
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