Snap Launches Tiny Selfie Drone that Follows You

Image: Snap Inc.

Snap Inc., the parent company of popular social media app Snapchat, announced a new product at its recent annual event to take your selfies to the next level — a yellow, square-shaped, autonomous photography and videography drone designed for self-filming (via Bloomberg).

“What would it feel like if Tinker Bell were your personal photographer?” said Evan Spiegel, Chief Executive Officer of Snap, in an interview. “On one hand, you have these bulky, almost dangerous drones that you have to manually control with a remote control. And on the other hand, you have a phone that can’t fly.”

Snap’s pocket-sized selfie drone, dubbed Pixy, is meant to bridge that gap. Pixy weighs about a quarter of a pound and is programmed to hover around its owner, automatically snapping pictures and videos of them.

Everything Pixy captures is automatically uploaded to the user’s Snapchat app, and the drone can autonomously land in its owner’s hand once it is done filming.

Pixy costs $230 USD and is currently available to pre-order in the U.S. and France, with deliveries starting in late May. No word yet on when, if ever, Snap’s latest hardware offering will be available in Canada.

Pixy is far from Snap’s first outing in the hardware space. Last year, Snap unveiled the next generation of its ‘Spectacles’ augmented reality (AR) glasses. Fourth-gen Spectacles are currently only available to developers. Like Spectacles, one of Snap’s objectives with Pixy is to further its ambitions in the AR space.

Other tech companies like Facebook parent Meta Platforms and Apple are actively working on virtual reality and mixed reality products, but Spiegel says Snap’s focus is solely on AR. “Our bet is firmly on the real world. We just believe that people enjoy the real world and enjoy being together with their friends, but also that it makes computing a lot more familiar, approachable and easier to use.”

Pixy has reportedly been under development at Snap since at least 2017 and was created in collaboration with Beijing-based drone company Zero Zero Robotics.

During its annual event, Snap also reported that the Snapchat app now has over 600 million monthly active users, up 20% from 500 million a year ago. That makes Snapchat bigger than Twitter, but not as large as Instagram or TikTok.

Snap’s CEO also offered his two cents on celebrity billionaire Elon Musk’s recent acquisition of Twitter, saying, “I think Elon is a power user with a lot of great insight on Twitter and where to take it in the future. I’m optimistic that they’ve got a lot of great success ahead.”