Snap has agreed to buy WaveOptics, a British augmented reality (AR) technology company, for over $500 million.
The deal will help the owner of photo messaging app Snapchat push its way into a future where AR eyewear could be ubiquitous.
Snap, along with other tech giants like Facebook and Apple, are racing to build AR devices as the next technological frontier after the smartphone.
The vision behind AR eyewear is that it could allow a user to virtually see route directions in front of them, or see information about a landmark in their surroundings, for example, Reuters reported.
Snap said it will pay half the $500 million for WaveOptics in stock at closing, and the other half will be paid in either cash or stock in two years. Snap is based in Santa Monica, California, while WaveOptics is headquartered in Oxford, England.
Snap on Thursday unveiled a new version of its Spectacles glasses, the first to incorporate AR with two built-in cameras, two speakers and four microphones.
The new Spectacles won’t be sold to the public, and will only be available to AR developers who apply to use the glasses.
Snapchat has reached over 500 million monthly active users, with roughly 40 percent of its community located outside of North America and Europe.
More than 170 million Snapchatters use Scan every month, and now Snapchat is adding Scan to the home camera screen.
With over 200 million Snapchatters engaging with AR daily, Snap has added a new round of technically-advanced and fashion-forward features that make virtual shopping and ‘try-on’ experiences that much more realistic, accurate, and easy to use.