The Snapchat Spectacles are official. Snapchat’s 26-year-old CEO Evan Spiegel says Spectacles are a smart wearable for video-sharing, according to the Wall Street Journal. Since this is the first hardware product offering, Spiegel stated that the company is taking things slow with Spectacles and shall release limited units for $130 this fall. This update comes within a few hours of the leak of Snapchat’s entry into hardware segment reported by the Inquisitr.
Snapchat has christened its name to Snap Inc. and calling itself a camera company. The new Snap Inc. name makes sense since it is branching out to hardware products and kick starting that with Spectacles. The Snapchat app will continue to exist as one of the software offerings.
Snapchat’s Spectacles are the first camera-centric product from Snap Inc. Spiegel jokingly refers it as the new toy. That’s what most people call the early-stage wearables. According to Business Insider, Spiegel was spotted publicly wearing Snapchat’s prototype glasses last year.
— Engadget (@engadget) September 24, 2016
The idea behind Spectacles is to free the Snapchat users from being limited to their phones for capturing pictures and videos. With the smart wearable, users can record videos while keeping the phone in a pocket or backpack.
The Spectacles have a small wireless video camera integrated at the upper corner towards the outside. The camera can capture 115 degrees field of view to give a more human eye perspective. A ring of LED light surrounds it just in case of low-light situations.
There’s a button on the frame to start recording a 10-second video in a new circular video format. The Spectacles pack a battery inside and can be used to capture videos throughout the day on a single charge. The protective case acts as a charging case for the Spectacles.
Next, you can connect the Spectacles to Snapchat via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to transfer the recorded footage. Despite the circular video format, the captured videos play in full screen on all the phones. You can save the videos in Memories or send it to your friends.
Take a look at the Spectacles’ introduction video below.
Launched in 2012, Snapchat is better known for its self-deleting nature of messages, photos, and videos topped with stickers and doodles. In June 2016, Snapchat surpassed Twitter with over 150 million daily active users and thereby proved its popularity, reported Bloomberg.
So, how did Snapchat suddenly become interested in cameras and smart wearables? Well, the company had been secretly working on the smart glasses project since 2014. According to The Verge, Snapchat had secretly bought a smart glasses maker called Vergence Labs for $11 million in cash and $4 million in stock. Vergence Labs is responsible for making Epiphany Eyewear, the smart glasses that can record videos at the touch of a button, upload them to a cloud storage or keep in the built-in storage up to 32GB.
To carry on the hardware projects, Snapchat has a team dubbed Snap Labs. The company has been assembling a team of wearables industry stalwarts such as Lauryn Morris, an eyewear designer who created some frames for Innovega, Zac Posen, and Michael Cors, reported CNET. Eitan Pilipski, a former member of Qualcomm’s Vuforia team who worked on Augmented Reality experiences using phones and smart eyewear, was hired as engineering director earlier this year. Also on the team is Mark Dixon, the ex-recruiter for Microsoft’s HoloLens project.
Snapchat also recruited one GoPro member and one from Google’s Project Ara, the ambitious modular smartphone initiative. With such experienced camera, hardware, and wearables industry specialists, Snapchat quietly poses a threat to its rival social network Facebook.
Snapchat’s Spectacles takes a page from the Google Glass design and just makes it a bit more user-friendly. In Google Glass, the users have to stare at the display on the top-right corner and use it as a ubiquitous mini-computer. Whereas, the Spectacles are your average sunglasses with integrated cameras, without any displays. Also, the Google Glass costs more than almost eleven times at $1500 compared to the $130 Spectacles. It would be like comparing apples to oranges.
— CNET (@CNET) September 26, 2016
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) September 26, 2016
However, Snap Inc.’s game plan is quite a long term one. The camera on the Spectacles can capture a lot of information about the things users are watching as well as the surroundings. For instance, it can learn about the products you’re browsing at the superstore, things you are considering to order from a restaurant menu, or even estimate the weather conditions outside. But the company doesn’t clarify how that translates in helping out an individual or its commercial viability for businesses.
Snapchat will sell Spectacles for $130 in Black, Teal, and Coral color options. However, the company hasn’t announced a date when the Spectacles will go on sale.
[Featured Image by Carl Court/Getty Images]