Snapchat could be working on new phone-free AR Spectacles — and a drone

Snapchat could be working on new phone-free AR Spectacles — and a drone
(Image credit: Snapchat)

Snap may have a new pair of augmented-reality Snapchat Spectacles in the pipeline — and they won't need to be connected to a phone to work.

That’s according to a report from The Information, which believes the firm is working on a follow-up to its older style camera-sunglasses hybrid. The updated AR Spectacles will overlay Snapchat lenses (or AR features) onto the external world, meaning you can leave your phone at home and enjoy pure sensory enhancement through your Snap eyewear.

Previous generations of Snap’s Spectacles use a similar formula: replete with head-mounted cameras, people can capture photo and video snaps from a conventional frame, then process the images on their phones. If the new Spectacles can show AR effects without needing a phone, it would give them a major new point of difference from older models. 

Not that consumers will necessarily be able to buy them anyway: right now, it sounds as if the glasses will only be available to developers and creators when they launch, rather than the general public. 

That's partly because Snap is reportedly eager for developers to, er, snap up the Spectacles and produce lenses and memorable experiences for the market, but it could also indicate that Snapchat is worried about potentially sluggish sales; the company reportedly lost $40 million on the original version.

What's more, the latest-generation Spectacles 3 cost $380 to buy outright, which is hardly chump change, and you’d likely expect a next-gen version to cost even more.  

The Information's report also suggested Snap is working on a drone: the company is said to have invested $20 million into a Chinese drone company, and engineers in Snap’s mysterious hardware group, Snap Lab, have apparently made drone development the focal point of their research.

While information remains thin on the ground, a Snapchat drone with the ability to overlay AR filters as it zips through the sky sounds like a winning combination. We'll watch with interest. 

More: Skype vs Zoom: a video-conferencing face-off

Luke Wilson

Luke is a Trainee News Writer at T3 and contributor to Tom's Guide, having graduated from the DMU/Channel 4 Journalism School with an MA in Investigative Journalism. Before switching careers, he worked for Mindshare WW. When not indoors messing around with gadgets, he's a disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors.