Recently, Snap Inc. announced that it will be devoting more of its time to Android. It is easy to interpret that particular declaration as a move to refine its Snapchat app in the platform.
On the other hand, it could be a clue that the company is interested or even covertly developing an Android phone.
The talking point is that Snap Inc. wants to focus more on developing its Android app to further expand its user base. This goal is legitimate especially if it wants to target the international market, which is populated by Android devices.
Making the app work more seamlessly with the platform, particularly considering the possibility of slow network connectivity in emerging markets, could indeed allow Snapchat to attract more users. Some sources also indicate that the company fears that Android will prevail over iOS in the United States soon, hence the alleged pivot.
However, there are key variables that point to a different direction that Snap Inc. seems to be taking.
What Are You, Snapchat?
When Snapchat became Snap Inc. last year, it began to reinforce the narrative that it is now a hardware company. The Spectacles wearable device was promptly released thereafter, and the management must have seen the excitement it has generated.
In its IPO submission recently, Snap Inc. carefully underlined that Spectacles is its first hardware product, so it indicates that more are coming.
Reports are already trickling at this point such as those that reveal how Snap Inc. has been shopping for startups that are developing hardware technologies including drones.
So why not mobile phones?
Snapchat War Chest
The Snapchat app is all about photos and sharing. The Spectacles is directly related to it, thus its release made sense. But Snapchat's link to the smartphone is even stronger. It is equipped with a camera and what is even more important is that it is directly connected to the app.
One should note that Snap Inc. aleady went public early February and the company hopes to initially raise as much as $3 billion. It is ultimately expected to amass as much as $14.8 billion by 2027. That is a huge amount to spend.
If it is bent on expanding user base or on diversifying its business toward hardware, the smartphone is the most likely objective. It should at least give Snap Inc. some respite from Facebook's shameless copying of its products.
To underscore this, one can merely turn to a cryptic statement that Snap Inc. made in its IPO filing.
"In the way that the flashing cursor became the starting point for most products on desktop computers, we believe that the camera screen will be the starting point for most products on smartphones," Snap Inc. said.
The company has also reportedly hired talents with backgrounds in the manufacture of hardware such as mobile phones.
Snapchat Concept Phone
This early, some sources have already released renders of the Snapchat Phone. For instance, there is the case of Mediakix's interpretation of the phone. The device is outfitted with a 360-degree rear camera while the concept UI features seamless integration with the Snapchat app and Spectacles.
The lock screen is even populated by Snapchat notifications, Latest Stories from friends, and immediate access to Spectacles and HD content sharing.