Monday 5 September 2016 2:28 pm

One huge hint that Snapchat’s working on a VR device

Nobody asked for it, but Snapchat messages might soon be coming to you in a virtual world.

The messaging startup, which has been flirting with an IPO for some time, has inadvertently dropped the biggest hint yet that it is delving into virtual reality technology – and specifically, into the hardware side of things.

Read more: ARM eyes virtual reality with new chips

The Silicon Valley-based startup has joined the working group for bluetooth technology, as spotted by the Financial Times, which notes that any company building a device with bluetooth connections must be a part of it.

This all adds to the growing list of evidence that points towards the company working on some sort of virtual or augmented reality device, even before the Pokemon Go trend went berserk this summer.

In July, Snapchat hired Raffael Dickreuter, a top visual effects guy from Hollywood, while in June, it reportedly snapped up a VR startup called Seene which had been working on an app for taking 3D photos and the technology behind that. While Snapchat hasn't confirmed the purchase, Seene mysteriously shut down shortly afterwards.

Reports earlier this year indicate it is hiring expertise in this area and way back in 2014 Snapchat acquired Vergence Labs, a startup working on a Google Glass-like device.

Read more: Fearless future: Virtual reality could help cure paranoia

It would be a significant step for Snapchat to move into hardware from software, but follows a similar route taken by Facebook which got into the consumer hardware business with its acquisition of Oculus. Yep, a VR company.

According to Deloitte, VR will become a billion dollar industry by the end of the year in terms of both hardware (the majority) and content for the devices, while other forecasters peg it to be worth $150bn (£113bn) by 2020.