More than five years after it released Spectacles, Snap is back with a new piece of hardware. This time, it flies. Taken by the name Pixy, this small yellow puck takes off from your hand and moves with you as you move around.
It takes videos that can be sent back to Snapchat. It’s Snap’s attempt to make a drone that’s more friendly and easy to use than other drones on the market. It may also be a hint at the more advanced, AR-powered future Snap is building toward.
It will be sold online for $230 in the US and France on Thursday. Unlike most other drones, this one is small and light enough to fit in a pant pocket. On top of the device, there is a dial that lets you choose from six different flight patterns.
The device doesn’t have a controller. It takes off and lands on an outstretched palm, and it uses six pre-programmed flight patterns.
Snapchat changed its name to Snap in 2016 and released its first pair of Spectacles. Since then, Snap has used that tagline to promote itself. Our goal is to let people be who they are, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together.” And this product does just that.
It’s been a long time since Snapchat started experimenting with how drones could work with its camera business. Spiegel has been interested in drones for a long time. A Chinese drone company called Zero Zero Robotics came close to being bought by him around that time. The timing wasn’t right for him to buy it.
Investors were worried about Snap’s growth as a newly public company because Facebook was copying its popular Stories feature all the time. The deal fell apart over the price. Even though Snapchat has a lot more users than Twitter, the company isn’t always making money. Snapchat is now growing much faster than Facebook.
What makes Snap Pixy Stand Out?
- So far, drones haven’t caught on outside of businesses and early adopters. Most of them are heavy, noisy, and pricey. Some even need a permit. It was important for Pixy to be friendly-sounding and small enough to fit in your pocket. This is so much fun! In Spiegel’s words: “I think we should probably put it out there.”
- One hundred and one grams is all the weight Pixy has with its swappable battery in. Full charge: Five to eight flights, which can last about 10 to 20 seconds. This is a short flight even for a small, tiny drone.
- Additional batteries cost $20, and Snap sells a battery charger for $50 that can charge two batteries at once. The Pixy has a 12MP sensor that can take up to 100 videos or 1,000 photos. All of these are stored on a 16GB drive that is connected to the Pixy.
- Wirelessly, the footage is sent to Snapchat’s Memories section, where it can be edited and shared. It can’t record audio, so Snap lets you use songs it has bought from music labels.
- In Snap, there are a few Pixy-specific AR effects that you can choose from. We think more will be added over time by the company and its creators. Quickly, the video can be cropped into Snap’s standard vertical orientation, with the main subject at its center. You won’t be able to watch the video on a big screen, but it’s good enough for a phone.
- Because it has a camera on the bottom, the Pixy can take off and land in your hand. It needs its front-facing camera to be about level with your eye level when it takes off. Then, as you move around, it automatically moves with you and keeps an eye on you.
- When you’re done with the flight, just put your hand out to the Pixy, and it comes back to your hand. Drones work well both outside and inside, and when they do, they make you feel like you’re in a rare “wow” moment when it happens for the first time.
Why Choose Snap Pixy?
In Spiegel’s view, the Pixy is a new way to capture moments that are focused on people. This is a more narrow view than how drones are usually thought of. There is a whole new area for Pixy because your phone can’t fly, he says. Then, you can see things in a whole new way. So in that way, I think Pixy is a lot better than what your smartphone can make.
The Pixy is simple, which makes it stand out from other small drones. DJI has been making small drones that can take off from your hand and follow you around for a long time. These drones have longer battery life and better video, too. It’s also more expensive and more difficult to use these other models that are out there. So, they’re still a lot bigger than the small Pixy.
Also, Pixy has a lot of other problems with how it was made. It’s so light that you won’t want to use it in windy weather. Snap also tells people not to use it on water or other shiny, reflective surfaces because they could confuse the bottom camera that makes it fly.
Snap Pixy isn’t going to make Snap very rich. “The goal is to get people to play with it,” Spiegel says. “Maybe we’d make more of version two if people liked the first one.” If anything, Snap may have set its own expectations for the first version too low, says the man who spoke to the group about it.
For more such updates, stay tuned with us!!