Introducing Snapchat Spectacles
With the recent rebranding of the corporation of Snapchat to Snap Inc., it is apparent that Evan Spiegel's company is trying to branch off from being just a mobile application. The first step they’re taking in that direction is the creation of wearable technology in the form of sunglasses, called Spectacles. Spectacles are designed to be fashionable but also possess the ability to record 10-second clips from the first-person point of view. With the press of a button, the camera begins recording, and a light in the shape of a halo indicates to others that the glasses are active. Once a recording is completed, it's sent wirelessly to the user’s smartphone to be added to their “Snapchat Memories.”
The announcement of Spectacles is a bold move after the failure of Google’s “Glass” wearable technology, which garnered much attention in 2013. When first introduced, Google Glass was heavily ridiculed; its users were often insulted and mocked for wearing the glasses that were considered unnecessary and a huge invasion of privacy. With the steep price of $1500, there was no chance Google Glass would achieve mainstream usage. Spectacles, however, may be able to outdo the tech behemoth we now know as Alphabet. The creation of Spectacles puts Snap Inc. in direct competition with Alphabet, a surprising twist of events after Google unsuccessfully attempted to acquire Snapchat for $4 billion in 2013 (an offer of $3 billion from Facebook was turned down as well).
Spectacles will release with a launch price of just $129.99, a much smaller investment than one would’ve had to make for Google Glass. Also, distribution will start small to gauge interest and allow Snap Inc. to examine which demographics the device appeals to the most. CEO Evan Spiegel refers to the device as a “toy.” It's supposed to be fun, designed to be worn at social events, concerts, and parties. Compared to recording a snap on a smartphone, what makes this device truly unique is that the images it records are fundamentally different than that of a smartphone. The camera on Spectacles uses an 115-degree-angle lens which is much closer to the human eye’s field of view than a smartphone camera. The videos will be circular, which is a more natural way to view videos, as opposed to a rectangle. The goal of Spectacles is to make its recorded videos resemble organic memories as seen through the eyes of the person recording.
Spectacles will be available this Fall in a variety of colors and shapes and will be one-size-fits-all. They will come with a dedicated charging case and cable. According to Snap Inc., the battery life on the device should last a day without charging, and the case can charge up to four times. It is currently unknown where the devices will be sold.