Snapchat is Planning to Lead the AR Realm. But, Can it succeed?

by Sai Vardhan

Snapchat is Planning to Lead the AR Realm. But, Can it succeed?

May 29, 2021

Snapchat has been one of the most committed companies specializing in AR development and constantly adding new features to its app. So as a part of this, Snap Inc has showcased its next-generation Spectacles, its first pair of glasses, which bring Augmented Reality (AR) to life and looks pretty ambitious than previous generations. It also showcased a fresh set of filters on its platform called Connected Lenses.

On Thursday, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel unveiled the company’s first authentic augmented reality glasses, which are supposedly set to bring AR into life in a way unlike others; they also think this technology will be more omnipresent than mobile phones. But there is a snag, these spectacles aren’t consumer-ready, which implies you can’t buy them yet. It was just a demo to show the improvements as part of their annual smart partner summit.

Nevertheless, a demo was pulled off, revealing how some virtual butterflies are flickering over colorful plants and landing in Spiegel’s opened hand.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel unveiled the company’s first authentic augmented reality glasses.

What's with the New Gen Specs?

The Spectacles 4 edition, the newest revolutionary product, helps you unlock a new way to use AR- hands-free. The new Spectacles comprises a dual waveguide display capable of super-imposing AR effects with embedded Snapchat’s software baked goodness and tools. The spectacles frame features four built-in microphones, two stereo speakers, and a built-in touchpad. Front-facing cameras assist the glasses in seeing objects and surfaces you’re looking at so that graphics are more natural and also helps interact with the world around you like never before.

However, these spectacles aren’t consumer-ready yet and are accessible for a handful of creators for testing AR potentials. On a similar note, we can also understand that the current capacity of battery life is just 30 minutes, which is another indication that infers these Spectacles aren’t ready for the mass market.

Nonetheless, the next generation will bring AR experience to life and add the correct elements and filters based on where the user is attending. For instance, one lens was demonstrated as an example where an AR dog in the frame and Spiegel from the user end had thrown an AR bone for the dog to fetch.

The Spectacles 4 edition, the newest revolutionary product, helps you unlock a new way to use AR- hands-free.

Latest Design

While the first two productions of Spectacles disclosed back in 2016 and 2018 looked a tad bit more like sunglasses with a single camera in the corner of the frame, they looked unique with design. But this generation’s Spectacles are black, with vast areas at the hinges to house components, and it stars angular lenses and cameras beside each hinge. The glasses also fold up and fit perfectly inside a black charging case.

How does the new generation work?

The Two front-facing cameras use the inbuilt snap software, which is used mainly for mobile lenses to automatically inspect physical surfaces and place effects in a way that doesn’t impede the real world. Two stereo speakers aids capture the audio and let the wearer control by voice. The touch-enabled side of the frame allows you to operate an interface in the displays that Snap names the Lens Carousel, permitting the wearer to switch AR effects they’re watching.

Spiegel also cited that this would be the first pair of glasses to explore real-life AR during the presentation. He also mentioned that the new Spectacles could fully integrate with Lens Studio, the firms own desktop application that creators use to create 3D and AR Lenses.

Spiegel also believes that these new Spectacles will create a significant shift in how we interact with the computing world.

Two stereo speakers aids capture the audio and let the wearer control by voice.

Connected Lenses

The new Spectacles weren’t the only thing announced at Snap’s virtual Partner Summit, but they also mentioned a handful of recent developments. So the next exciting thing that includes developers is called connected lenses. This new aspect allows multiple people to see and interact with the same scene in AR. To put it simply, it lets users have a shared lens experience with friends or family anywhere, untying an entirely new level of interaction. The first Connect lens will assist two or more users to come together and build a Lego kit in AR mode. The ability to create these Lenses will be expanded to the company’s Lens Studio tool later.

New strides by Snapchat

As a part of its annual summit, Snap also mentioned some other important announcements, like its plans to launch a dedicated AR innovation lab called Ghost. A massive $3.5 million amount will back this ghost platform to support the creators in making more interactive and real-time effects with a $1 million amount funded by Verizon for AR experiences utilized over 5G.

The company also previewed numerous new augmented reality features for Snapchat, like its AR clothing try-on feature tech that can now handle watches and glasses and much more.

Snap Expands

Wave optics is a British based company that develops and supplies AR displays to Snapchat and many other companies. But Snap Inc will be acquiring this British company for $500 million. The deal is rumored to help the photo messaging app Snapchat propel its way into a future where AR eye-wear could be everywhere.

Snap, along with other tech giants, is in the race to build AR devices, allegedly the next technology revolution. And the only way to stride in this area is to launch AR goggles, which allows the user to see the route directions in front of them virtually, excellent lenses, and see information about a landmark in their surroundings, different set of experience for other users.

Snap quoted that they will pay half of the total amount in stock options and the other half in cash or stocks depending upon the situations in the next two years. Even still, buying Wave Optics is somewhat a shielding move by Snap, and on the similar side of the coin, Wave Optics has also stated that it wants to make AR displays altered for mass adoption.

This announcement came out just after Snap unveiled its new products and technologies at the annual summit virtual event. The new Spectacles won’t be sold to the public and will only be available to AR developers who apply to use the glasses.

In conclusion, while Snap is known primarily for the Snapchat app, for now, these new generations of Spectacles, buying the companies, and severe developments in the AR field reflect how the company’s ambition is to be a crucial player in the race to build AR. Furthermore, to add about the Spectacles 4, they look terrific and innovative with a new set of features and tech embedded inside is going to be worth a shot.

Can it succeed? The answer seems a viable option for Snap to grow and level their strategy to a more advanced level and let users also enjoy that luxury of AR.


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