Snap is mainly known for its catchy social network consisting of fleeting messages and legitimately impressive augmented reality filters. But every now and then Snap, which is called a “camera company,” produces new hardware. Things get a little weird. This is one of those times.
During its annual Snap Partner Summit, the company showed off a flying camera, the type of device known as a drone. Called the Pixy, this flat, yellow plastic copter is designed to pair with the Snapchat app, stand up from the palm of your owner’s hand, quickly capture a photo or video, and zoom in again to the palm of your hand. the person, probably in Coachella. Captured media is shared wirelessly in Memories in the Snapchat app, where you can apply the AR filters and video effects that are characteristic of Snap.
The little drone costs $ 230. For $ 20 more, you can buy a Pixy kit included with two extra batteries. You’ll probably need extra batteries, because a fully charged Pixy will be able to complete between five and eight short flight routes before requiring a recharge. (A palm-sized drone that weighs less than a pound doesn’t exactly support large batteries.)
Pixy will attract a specific type of Snap user, and Snap knows that too – it only sells a limited number of units, “until stocks run out,” in the U.S. and France. In an interview with WIRED about Snap’s drone and RA’s broader RA targets, co-founder and chief technology officer Bobby Murphy did not say how many expect them to sell, though he says the company’s goal is to “create something that really resonates with our community. ” This seems to align with the company’s previous hardware efforts. From their Spectacles camera glasses, which were initially only available through a Snap brand vending machine when they were launched in 2016, to the AR glasses it showed last spring, which were only available for to developers, Snap is very good at generating the rumor. , not necessarily revenue from your hardware business.
This is not to say that the hardware products developed in Snap Labs are not technologically significant. Snap released video capture glasses years before the much more influential Meta did. Last year’s AR-compatible glasses provided insight into immersive and delicious AR lenses, as Snap calls them, seen through the glasses on his face. This new Pixy drone relies on computer vision and object recognition technology to identify people’s faces and body parts, so it can track or “orbit” Pixy users, capturing the best photo or video clip possible, and then land on your palm. hand.
“We’re looking forward to evolving Pixy and really discovering all the different ways in which a computer-powered flying camera can add value,” says Murphy.
However, both in conversation with Murphy and during Snap’s virtual partner summit today, the company made it clear that its focus is directly on its AR technology. Snap stands out for a number of reasons in the broader social media landscape, and one of those reasons is its AR technology. (It’s also worth noting that Snap has many more millions of daily active users than Twitter, which has absorbed all the news air this week due to the purchase of Elon Musk and the planned privatization of Twitter.)