Rumor: Snapchat Eyes Hardware

Snapchat has joined a Bluetooth industry group, reigniting reports that it might jump into the hardware game.

The ephemeral messaging app has signed on to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), which licenses its trademarks to companies that incorporate the technology into their products. As the Financial Times notes, this is "the strongest hint yet of [Snapchat's] ambitions to move from apps into hardware," as only companies with plans to launch a wireless device—not those simply developing software—join the consortium.

Bluetooth SIG confirmed that Snapchat joined the group, though it declined to say when it did so, citing a confidentiality agreement. But as an "adopter," the messaging app can now use the Bluetooth wireless specification, word mark, and logo in its products and marketing.

A Snapchat spokeswoman declined to comment.

The move comes after Snapchat reportedly acquired 3D photo app service Seene, which makes "computer vision technology" for mobile devices. Reports of a Snapchat-branded wearable device, meanwhile, date back to March, when CNET suggested that former Nokia and Logitech developers joined the company to secretly build its "first piece of consumer hardware."

Snapchat has been quietly ramping up its hardware efforts this year, hiring electrical engineers, marketers, and product managers from Ring, Canary, Sphero, Oculus, Google, and Qualcomm's Vuforia AR unit, FT reports, citing LinkedIn postings. For more, check out this morning's episode of Random Access below, where PCMag staff chat about the possibility of Snapchat hardware.

On the software front, recent Snapchat releases include Memories, personalized messages via Bitmoji and Geostickers, and custom geofilters.

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