Snapchat could be getting into the hardware business, but it won’t be making a Snapphone. The company is reportedly hiring experts in wearable technology. What’s interesting is that it’s specifically looking for hardware experts, suggesting that instead of simply developing apps for wearable tech, Snapchat wants to make a wearable device of its own. It’s very interesting news for the social media network, which currently boasts a user base of 100 million daily users.
Key hires include Mark Dixon, who was a recruiter for the Microsoft HoloLens, as well as Eitan Pilipski, who previously worked in the Qualcomm Vuforia team, which was aimed at building computer vision technology for augmented reality. Snapchat hired him as an engineering director back in January. Snapchat’s decision isn’t totally unprecedented. In fact, the company is almost mirroring another social media network’s moves: Facebook. Facebook paid a hefty $2 billion for Oculus back in 2014, and while Snapchat certainly isn’t doing badly as a social media network, it makes sense that the company would want to start branching out. It’s important to note that there have been signs that Snapchat would be entering the wearable market for a while now. In 2014, the company purchased Vergence Labs, a startup that creates eyewear similar to Google Glass. The startup made a device that records video from what the wearer sees. Then, in 2015, the company created Snapchat Research, a team of scientists and engineers that is working on machine learning technology.
Still, it would be interesting to see what a pair of Snapchat glasses looks like. It’s unlikely that the company could market a pair of smart glasses that revolve solely around taking temporary videos to send to friends. Instead, it would have to branch out into totally new territory, and while video taking could be a part of the experience, the device would need something extra. Perhaps this could be the set of augmented reality goggles that we’ve always wanted. Snapchat has grown into a photo and video giant, with users reportedly viewing as many as 8 billion videos every single day. The company has even caught up to Facebook, which announced that 8 billion videos per day were being viewed back in November.