What many thought was inevitable, based on recent hints, has been revealed to be in the planning stages: Snapchat is working on smartglasses. The surprising information came out on March 2 in a report that also claims Snap Inc. is planning to release version two of its Spectacles product in the third quarter of 2018.
However, that 2018 product won't be a pair of smartglasses, rather it will offer "performance improvements and bug fixes," according to a report from Cheddar. The news that a new pair of slightly updated Spectacles is coming will likely come as a shock for many, with the company losing nearly $40 million on the product rollout.
And Snap's CEO, Evan Spiegel, recently had to admit that the product wasn't doing as well as some had hoped, revealing that only 150,000 had been sold, with "hundreds of thousands" of unsold Spectacles languishing in storage buildings.
But the real surprise, for fans of augmented reality, is the new report's claim that Snap is also working on a third version of Spectacles that may feature "two cameras that would allow for 3D-like depth effects in videos" and built-in GPS. Those two features alone would push the device into smartglasses territory. (Currently, Spectacles are only capable of snapping photos that are then sent to your Snapchat account.)
The report goes on claim that the third generation Spectacles will feature a rounder, aluminum frame, a leather case, and may sell for around $300 (the current version costs $130). Although Snap is said to have planned on releasing the two-camera version of Spectacles this year, the company is reportedly now planning to release them in 2019. Snap opted to decline comment on the report when directly questioned by its author.
What this all tells us is that all the clues were pointing in the right direction and Snap isn't just a camera company, as it likes to call itself. At its heart, it's also an augmented reality company. Now it's just a matter of seeing if it can beat Apple to the market with the first truly mainstream pair of smartglasses.