Evan Spiegel thinks hardware will be an important part of Snap's business in a decade

Evan SpiegelGettySnap CEO Evan Spiegel at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment conference on Tuesday.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel thinks hardware like the company’s Spectacles glasses will be an important part of the tech company’s business one day — but not for at least a decade.

Spiegel said as much onstage at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment conference on Tuesday.

“We’re just sort of beginning to dabble in hardware,” he said when asked about Spectacles, the camera-equipped sunglasses that Snap released last year.

Although the early hype and long lines for Spectacles have died, Snap internally sees the product as a success, he said. And the product has helped pave the way for the future, he said.

“Hardware is going to be an important vehicle for delivering our experience in maybe a decade,” Spiegel said.

Snap has sold just over 150,000 pairs of Spectacles to date, he said, adding that the company had hoped to sell at least 100,000 by now.

By looking a decade out, Spiegel may have been hinting at Snap’s focus on augmented reality (AR), the nascent technology that some believe could eventually replace the smartphone. Augmented reality overlays virtual objects onto views of the real world via smartphones or specially designed headsets or glasses. Although augmented reality eyewear that’s designed for and marketed at consumers is likely years away, Snap has indicated with Spectacles that it is already interested in the potential market.

Although Spectacles are the only hardware product Snap’s released, the company’s secretive hardware lab has also worked on developing a drone. But that division recently underwent a leadership shakeup and about a dozen layoffs.

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