Since it filed its IPO last week, there’s been a lot of talk about the state of Snap, Inc. Not yet profitable and experiencing a decline in daily active user growth (largely attributable to the introduction of Instagram Stories), this is shaping up to be something of a critical moment for Snap, which will need to innovate and expand beyond its core product, Snapchat, in order to survive in an increasingly competitive landscape. Given Snap’s own recognition of the need to push beyond Snapchat, its rebranding as a “camera company”, and a slew of new hires in engineering, it’s likely that Snap’s next big thing is going to be in hardware. Maybe it’s a new version of Spectacles, or maybe it’s something entirely new like, for instance, a Snapchat Phone.
Quietly released in November via mysterious vending machines called Snapbots, Snapchat’s only hardware product to date, Spectacles, has encountered early success. Snap’s S-1 filing states its intention to push Spectacles forward, and as the Spectacles team expands, it’s clear that they’ll probably be getting a wider release and that we may even see some kind of evolution of Spectacles. But is that all that’s going on?
Snap’s hardware hirings have been robust, including electrical, mechanical, prototype, hardware, interactive, RF/antenna, and NPI (New Product Introduction) engineers as well as CMF (color, metal, finish) designers, industrial designers, and mobile services specialists, many of whom have prior experience at companies like Motorola, Apple, Google, HTC, Verizon and Nokia. While it’s true that designers and engineers often work on wildly different products (and often in quick succession), there are some stacked resumes in telecommunications coming aboard the Snap team. Some are definitely working on Spectacles, but others don’t have a clear team or product affiliation at Snapchat.
It begs the question: Is Snapchat building a phone?
Is SnapChat Phone coming?
Infographic source: Mediakix