No other app in the world enjoys so much love from high-schoolers and tweeners as Snapchat does and it is a source of major pride for the company. It already depends heavily on its filters and Augmented reality photo processing to distinguish itself from competitors and now it looks like the company might be going one step forward to keep its lead.
How does a Snapchat AR device sound? Well, irrespective of what you and I may think, it seems like the device is well on its way.
Snapchat has recently joined the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, an organization that companies only join when they are making a physical device with Bluetooth capabilities.
This is also not the first step that the company has taken towards the development of such a product. Snapchat also acquired Vergence Labs in 2014, a start-up that was developing products very similar to Google Glass.
It then moved on to acquiring people who were regarded as specialists in the AR genre, such as the head of recruiting from Microsoft’s Hololens and premier eyewear designers to possible come up with something that users might actually want to put on their faces.
The simple assumption from seeing Snapchat’s current form and the nature of the acquisitions it has made lead us to believe that the company may have an AR headset on its way which will connect to the phone app via Bluetooth.
This is of course only an educated guess and the company might have completely different up its sleeve.
It would be the first time that Snapchat moves beyond software and into the realm of hardware. It is a move that its main rival, Facebook, has shunned till now, at least with direct branding. Mark Zuckerburg has always said that his company will aim to be on every phone and not limit itself to the number of hardware units it can move.
The success of such a device is also far from guaranteed as people do not seem to be very receptive to wearables with always-on cameras or other recording devices. Even a company like Google could not convince the public about the utility of its wearable product and eventually had to shelve the plans for a commercial release.
Admittedly, Snapchat is more in tune with the youth culture and really ‘gets’ it’s audience but selling hardware could be a bridge too far even for it.
The last hurdle though is one that is faced by a lot of wearable devices and that is the fact that people just do not want to carry around yet another device to complete one specific purpose. Convincing its users to wear a headset just so that they can have an AR Snapchat experience sounds like a tough sell but hey, weirder devices have worked in the past!
The timing for AR though could not be better as companies like Nintendo with Pokemon Go and Microsoft with its Hololens have shown that there are a number of compelling use cases that can be made for the technology.