A new version of Snap's Snapchat Spectacles is currently in development, with new augmented reality features built-in into the device. Most of the information about this new device comes from a patent application filed by Snap Inc., the owners of Snapchat, in November 2015. According to the patent application, Snap Inc. has developed a dual-glass device that is capable of determining the location of the user and providing them information and other useful content. The digital content that will be provided may likely be based on the user's location. This patent application also shows how the content will be displayed on the glasses. Some examples of materials that can be shown on the new version of Spectacles include virtual structures and facades, stickers, and other AR objects that are relevant to the user's location.
While Snap is still developing new AR-capable hardware, the social network had already released new app features that provides its users an experience of augmented reality. For example, the social network included in its applications a new AR-focused feature termed as "World Lens". This feature allows the app to add new images, words, and other content on top of basically everything that the smartphone camera already captures. Snap monetizes this feature through sponsored word lenses. For example, Warner Brothers collaborated with the social network to produce a sponsored world lens for the movie Everything, Everything. This sponsored world lens allowed users to overlay visual elements from the movie on what their cameras are currently capturing. The new version of Spectacles is expected to improve on this AR experience by allowing users to interact and walk around the 3D objects that appear on their display within a certain period of time.
Despite the fact that the original Spectacles has yet to make a drastic impact on Snap Inc's bottom line, it is evident that the company views its hardware as important to its future. New hardware, like the new version of the Spectacles, could deliver a more interactive AR experience that should help the social network in enticing additional advertisers. Aside from the improvements in its AR features, Snap is also ramping up its research and development efforts in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Investing on AI and machine learning allows Snap to develop new features and offerings that could distinguish its social network from the competition.