This could be the biggest indication yet that Snapchat is building AR glasses

Snapchat Emoji Camera Updates
Maurizio Pesce/Flickr
Snapchat has dropped another signal concerning its rumored plans to release a hardware device. The company just joined the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), an industry body that oversees the licensing of Bluetooth technologies and trademarks to manufacturers.

Snapchat joins the SIG as an “adopter,” which is a free category that allows the company to create its own Bluetooth-enabled hardware or collaborate with other device makers. Generally speaking, most companies that sign up with the SIG do it with the intention of launching a wireless device, according to the Financial Times.

Rumors have been circulating for a couple of years now as to what form this supposed hardware will take. Back in 2014, we reported that Snapchat had quietly snapped up LA-based AR headset manufacturer Vengeance Labs for $15 million. Then it was all quiet on the hardware front until March of this year, when it was revealed that the company had gone on a recruitment spree focused on hiring wearable experts. Thus far, the signs point to an AR headset akin to Google Glass. That particular product was a tough sell for Google, so it will be interesting to see what Snapchat brings to the table.

However, it could also be the case that Snapchat is simply looking to develop its own AR apps. The company already boasts a research department, where the aforementioned wearable experts work alongside scientists and engineers on machine-learning technology.

Whatever the firm’s plans turn out to be, one thing is for sure: Snapchat will inevitably expand beyond its current parameters as a visual messaging app as a result of its continuous growth. Releasing a hardware device would bring it closer to tech giants such as Google and Facebook — not exactly the worst companies to emulate.

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