Two rumors about Snap’s product lineup leaked today. The first: the company is building a drone. The second: it has also considered building a 360-degree camera. These products sound remarkably underwhelming and have me slightly concerned about the company’s future in hardware. Does Snap just want to be GoPro but better? (GoPro is floundering, by the way.)
It’s unclear whether Snap intentionally leaked these stories or if reporters dug the scoops up themselves, but in either case, the rumors don’t create solid backing for Snap’s IPO case. Building a drone isn’t easy. Just look at what happened to GoPro when it tried to launch the Karma, or 3D Robotics’ entire company. Only DJI has made a go of it in the drone space, and I don’t think Snap has the clout to pull off a win in that product category. A drone with a puppy filter overlay could be tempting for tweens, though.
As for a 360-degree camera, yikes. Lots of companies have manufactured decent enough 360 cameras, including Samsung, Ricoh, and, again, GoPro. While yes, Snap only “explored” building a 360-degree camera, the idea doesn’t speak highly of its team’s brainstorm sessions. Listen, I genuinely have hope for Snap. Maybe they’ll stumble upon a genius product category and create a must-have gadget. They might! Spectacles were fun and different, despite them not generating “significant revenue.” They’re available online now, though, so it’s possible they’ll experience late-onset success.
Still, with these two rumors, I’m worried for the company that says its business model is based on “reinventing the camera.” These gadgets are neither reinventions nor innovations. Hopefully Snap has something else in the works that’ll blow our gadget minds.
Ehm Snapchat phone.