Bluetooth Group Hints at Snapchats Device Plans

Alex in Oculus Rift
Snapchats move into the world of hardware may seek to compete with the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift

Rumours that photo messaging app Snapchat has plans to enter into the world of devices have been circulating for months, but new revelations have given the clearest signs so far that the company has ambitions to enter the hardware market.

As spotted by the Financial Times, the company has joined the working group for Bluetooth technology. In order to do so, firms have to be building a device which includes Bluetooth connections as part of its design.

In June, Snapchat reportedly acquired virtual reality startup Seene, which had been in the process of developing an app that could take 3D photos. While Snapchat hasnt confirmed the purchase, Seene was quietly shuttered shortly afterwards.

Then in July, Snapchat hired Raffael Dickreuter, a visual effects specialist who had previously worked in Hollywood on films including Iron Man. Dickreuter describes himself as a “virtual reality specialist, director and creator of VR content”, and his role at Snapchat reportedly centres on augmented reality.

The signs seem to point to Snapchat creating a Google Glass-style device that will somehow integrate its existing photo messaging service. The leap from millennial-friendly app to AR devices might seem like a big one, but Facebook made a similar move with its acquisition of Oculus Rift. Just as Snapchat is cannibalising Facebooks youngest users, it may steal Mark Zuckerbergs thunder by developing its hardware in-house.

Quite what features this device will boast is far from clear, but with VR and AR expected to billion-dollar industries before the end of the year, Snapchat clearly has its eyes on the future of mobile technology.