It continues to be harder and harder to pin down exactly what Snapchat “is” — sure, it fits in the category of social apps, but its features have included experiments with marketing and original content creation, news and citizen journalism, and, of course, selfies. What could make defining the service even more difficult? A venture in to hardware. And that’s exactly what Snapchat seems to be exploring, as recent hiring details indicate the development of a glasses-based wearable device.
A new report from Cnet reveals the company is looking for people with experience in augmented reality and wearable technology. Snapchat isn’t looking for people on the software side of things, however, but specifically hardware experts. This indicates that a lot more is in the works than simply bringing Snapchat to different wearable platforms.
Snapchat has already lured in several hires with augmented reality experience, Cnet says, including those from Microsoft’s HoloLens project and the team from the Qualcomm Vuforia. This comes after the company’s 2014 acquisition of Vergence Labs, which had developed a pair of camera-equipped smart glasses.
A consumer hardware release from Snapchat may seem to make no sense at this point, but it does seem to be following a certain pattern set by Facebook and their $2 billion acquisition of Oculus. There’s no doubt that the company is deeply involved in bringing augmented reality technology to its platform, but beyond that it’s hard to tell if it’s to better understand smart glasses as a whole, or to build its own device.
Then again, it could all be something else entirely. With a valuation of $16 billion and 100 million daily users, Snapchat could just be enjoying its growth and simply exploring its possibilities with burgeoning technology.