The Information reports Snap will ship AR glasses to developers & creators, with an announcement planned in May.
Founded in 2011, Snap inc has never made a profit. The Snapchat app has over 300 million active users. Some financial analysts expect the company will reach profitability this year.
Snap has shipped three smartglasses products to date, branded Spectacles. The models so far don’t have any form of display system – they function solely as a wearable camera, exporting captured clips to the Snapchat app.
Spectacles 2 added water resistance but Spectacles 3 dropped that feature, instead adding a second camera for 3D video capture and effects.
Based on The Information‘s reporting, it seems like Spectacles 4 will make the jump from smartglasses to AR glasses, with a display system and spatial tracking capable of overlaying Snapchat filters on the real world.
It’s not clear whether Snap is developing its own core tech or using Qualcomm’s XR1 reference design.
There’s no mention of hand tracking or a controller – the report suggests the specs will continue to be linked to the Snapchat app on a smartphone. Current Spectacles have a button on top to stop and start recording.
Spectacles 3 is priced at $380, suggesting an AR model could be priced much higher. Snap’s reported focus on developers & creators could give it time to get a lower cost product ready for consumers.
Snap’s cofounder reportedly said this to investors:
“To fully realize this idea of computing overlaid directly onto the world will require a new device: a completely new kind of camera that is capable of rendering digital content right in front of us, with the power to instantly and continuously understand the world as our own eyes do, and all in a light, wearable form factor”