Oh, Snap! Snapchat Releases Spectacles, Officially Evolving from Mobile App to Hardware

September 26, 2016

In a revolutionary move over the weekend, the third-most popular social app among millennials (trailing only a short distance behind Facebook and Instagram) unveiled its first hardware product. That’s right, the Snapchat brand is no longer constrained to phones and tablets; it now comes in the form of wearable, high-tech video sunglasses designed to capture your surroundings exactly as you see them.

This latest product to grace the tech stage comes under the title ‘Spectacles’, and it’s certainly creating quite the buzz. The move proves that the company, which has now rebranded itself as Snap, Inc., is capable of much more than its flagship app, boldly testing those boundaries to see what else can generate a bit of excitement in an industry that is constantly evolving. Going above and beyond the traditional mobile app to create a consumer-driven product is certainly a gamble, but it may just be one that pays off exponentially…

“It’s one thing to see images of an experience you had, but it’s another thing to have an experience of the experience.” – Evan Spiegel

According to Snap, Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel, Spectacles provide users with a playback experience unlike any other. Rather than being restricted by the frames of a handheld device, Spectacles are built with cameras that employ a 115-degree lens, which, according to the manufacturers, is much more aligned with a person’s natural field of vision. Furthermore, the cameras record circular video as opposed to the rectangular format you get with photographs, thereby effectively simulating the user’s experience in a way like never before. After testing out the prototype, Spiegel made the comment that Spectacles are like seeing “my own memory, through my own eyes”.

The device stores the clips which are then uploaded to Snapchat’s ‘Memories’ section via WiFi or Bluetooth. The user then chooses which videos to share with his or her online circle of friends.

How does it work?

All the user has to do is don the glasses then tap a button near the hinge. Each time you tap it, the cameras capture 10-second snippets of footage from your direct perspective. No longer are you stuck holding up a smartphone, living your experience vicariously through the screen of a digital device – instead, you are free to absorb the moment in a very natural manner, leaving it up to your latest fashion accessory to record the events exactly as they unfold. Whether it’s fist-pumping at a music festival or cuddling your nephew for the first time, your hands are now free to really make the most of those moments.

Can we see this bold move as being successful?

Given the anticlimactic flop of Google Glass, one might be justified in harbouring a dash of scepticism about Snap’s transition into wearable face-based computing. However, unlike Google Glass, which was advertising for around $1,500 a pop, Spectacles are only US$130 a pair (the price is yet to be confirmed in Australia). Furthermore, Spectacles are much more conspicuous than the new-age Google Glass headwear, as Snap recognised the need to market them with a generous lick of high-fashion gloss – the tech accessory virtually looks like a pair of sunglasses, with the frames even coming in a choice of colours: vibrant coral, cool teal and classic black.

It will be interesting to see how Snap, Inc.’s latest device rates in terms of consumer-popularity, but given the product’s healthy dose of tech innovation and its savvy capitalisation upon something everyone loves right now – the mobile camera – we predict it won’t take long to soar to success. Bring on the opportunity to turn those summer memories into a lasting impression, we say!

Image sourced from The Next Web