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Snapchat joins Apple on Bluetooth consortium, plots wearable augmented reality hardware

The latest member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group is growing social media platform Snapchat, amidst rumors that the company is working on a wearable augmented reality device that will expand its presence into hardware.

Buzz is building that Snapchat is working on a pair of "augmented reality goggles," according to the Financial Times. The company's app already dabbles in mixed reality, using advanced facial mapping technology to modify a user's appearance for humorous selfies in real time.

Apple has served on the Bluetooth SIG Board of Directors since 2011, giving it a say in the future of the wireless technology. Other high-profile members include Intel, Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

Membership in the Bluetooth oversight group is required for companies who wish to release devices utilizing the low-power wireless technology. Snapchat's enrollment is seen as the latest sign that the company is preparing to debut its first hardware, following a number of hires from the consumer electronics space.

No timeframe has been given for Snapchat to potentially debut hardware. But the company's CEO, Evan Spiegel, was spotted in public wearing camera-equipped sunglasses over a year ago, suggesting the hardware has been tested for some time.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, via Business Insider.

This summer, the Bluetooth SIG announced a next-generation Bluetooth 5 Spec with four times the speed and twice the range of the current standard protocol, Bluetooth 4.2.

Bluetooth plays a crucial role in the interconnectivity of Apple's products, including AirDrop and Continuity. As a Promoter Member of Bluetooth SIG, and with an engineer sitting on its board of directors, Apple is consistently one of the first major manufacturers to adopt new revisions.

Apple is also rumored to be working on a potential Snapchat competitor for quickly editing and sharing video with friends. It's been said that Apple's Snapchat-like video and image sharing service could debut in 2017.