Snap’s new Pixy drone is a $230 selfie machine

Snap’s new Pixy drone is a $230 selfie machine

Snap's new Pixy drone is a $230 selfie machine

Placeholder while loading article actions

Social media company Snap hasn’t had the best luck making and selling hardware. Yet he tries again – this time with a miniature drone to take the occasional photo and video. It’s the kind he hopes you’ll share on his messaging app, Snapchat.

The Pixy is a $230 square drone in a bright yellow hue. It’s the size of your palm and is designed to require as little drone piloting skill as possible. The toy-like design attempts to make the flying camera so user-friendly that people might overlook the privacy implications.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel announced the drone Thursday at his Snap Partner Summit. The Pixy – which can be ordered now but will ship in 11-12 weeks – captures photos and videos with roughly the same quality as modern smartphones. It doesn’t have a controller and just floats out of your hand to do its business then comes back down.

Social media companies have been trying to break into computer hardware for a few years. Spiegel has been using the line that Snap is a “camera company” since its initial public offering in 2017. However, actual Snap cameras are rare.

A guide to every privacy setting you should change right now

The company’s foray into hardware began with the original Spectacles, a fashionable pair of sunglasses with cameras in the frame that could only be purchased from smiley yellow vending machines – or from dealers who settled around them. The company last launched a pair of camera glasses to the public in 2019, and it has since focused its efforts on its next-gen Spectacles, its first wearables with built-in screens for augmented reality.

Facebook parent company Meta launched similar glasses last year, called Ray-Ban Stories, which can record video and photos from small built-in cameras. The company has not released sales figures for the product.

The category of glasses with cameras has raised concerns among experts about privacy and surveillance, dating back to Google’s own attempt, Google Glass. Adding small, hard-to-spot cameras and microphones to a standard accessory can make it easier to take hands-free video and photos, but it’s hard for subjects to know when they’re being recorded and give consent.

Snap was rumored to be working on a drone as far back as 2017, and after those rumors started to solidify last year, the company finally got its flying camera built. Snap’s official launch of drone technology puts the company in competition with incumbents such as Chinese drone maker DJI.

Facebook glasses: not too “smart”, maybe a little dodgy

Other companies have tried, unsuccessfully, to make similar occasional drones. GoPro launched its doomed Karma drone in 2016 and discontinued it less than two years later. ZeroZero Robotics created the Hover Camera Passport, which is no longer available on its site. And in 2015, a company called Lily Robotics made an incredibly similar drone specifically for capturing selfies and other social media-friendly moments, but it cost $1,000. This company has since closed.

Despite similar attempts in the past, the Pixy has key differences from many drones currently in flight. There’s no way to manually fly Snap’s drone – instead, it flies along one of four pre-set flight paths to act as an airborne photographer. And while the Pixy comes with 16 gigabytes of built-in storage, there doesn’t seem to be a way to add more should the need arise.

This means that once the Pixy is full of photos and videos (or “Snaps”, in company parlance), customers can’t swap out memory cards and start capturing more. Instead, it’s meant to transfer that media to a smartphone, in which case photos and videos can be edited in the Snapchat app. The biggest limiting factor, however, might be the battery life of the drone.

The company says the Pixy can be sent for five to eight flights on a single charge of its included battery, and naturally Snap will be selling extra batteries to keep the drone flying and shooting longer.

#Snaps #Pixy #drone #selfie #machine

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.