Snapchat’s new Pixy drone takes the camera to new heightsVish Gainon April 29, 2022 at 08:18 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic

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Snapchat parent company Snap has unveiled a new pocket-sized drone camera, called Pixy, as it focuses more on the hardware side of its business.

The free flying device fits in the palm of your hand and, with the tap of a button, can hover around you in four different modes: float, orbit, or follow you as you walk or run. When the photo or video session is over, Snap said the device gently lands back on the palm of your hand.

Compared to most other camera drones in the market, Pixy is significantly smaller and uniquely does not require any controls to move around. Intended to be a companion to Snapchat, all content captured by Pixy is saved in the app and can be accessed after the session to edit.

Pixy was unveiled at the Snapchat Partner Summit 2022 yesterday (28 April), where CEO Evan Spiegel revealed Snapchat’s ambitions to grow in the AR space. The drone camera is only available for purchase in the US and France, where it will set users back $230.

However, Snap warned that owners of the devices will have to follow local rules when flying drone cameras such as Pixy in their countries. For instance, people in the US must register their drones with the government. Flying drones is also illegal in some parts of the two countries, such as Paris in France and the Grand Canyon in the US.

Back to (augmented) reality

Snapchat is doubling down on its efforts to attract developers to its platform, according to Reuters, offering a spate of free services such as more storage that can help developers build more complex AR experiences.

The company is also working on new AR features in collaboration with retail brands to help customers try on clothes and accessories in AR on the Snapchat app before buying them. Last month, it even acquired Paris-based brain-computer interface start-up NextMind.

Spiegel, who founded Snapchat with Bobby Murphy in 2011, said that the app now has more than 600m users – up 100m since last year alone – with more than 300m daily active users. It is also has an estimated market cap of nearly $47bn, making it more valuable than Twitter even after its takeover by Elon Musk.

Even though the company has been setting its eyes on AR with its app, Spectacles, and now Pixy, Spiegel said that he never uses the word ‘metaverse’ in Snap’s offices, according to the Guardian.

“The reason why we don’t use that word is because it’s pretty ambiguous and hypothetical. Just ask a room of people how to define it, and everyone’s definition is totally different,” he said. “Our fundamental bet is that people actually love the real world: they want to be together in person with their friends.”

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