Rumors surrounding shakeups at Snapchat have been circulating for months. Chief among them was the launch of a Google Glass-like accessory.
Over the weekend, Snapchat announced plans to deliver a set of glasses complete with built-in video camera. The glasses, called Spectacles, connect wirelessly with the Snapchat app. Wearers can send videos they record on the device straight to the app. From there, users can send the video to friends, their stories, or added to the memories function.
Connections between the glasses and device goes through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on Apple devices. Transfers are made through Wi-Fi on Android devices. The accessory is compatible with all devices, and according to a blog post released by Snapchat, “Circular video plays full screen on any device, in any orientation, and captures the human perspective with a 115-degree field of view.”
Spectacles come in three colors. The user can record video by pressing the record button located on the top of the glasses on the left side. Pressing the button captures 10 seconds of video recording. A second tap of the button is required for 30 seconds of video.
The company says that the glasses can take a whole day’s worth of Snapchats with a single charge.
Snapchat also took a lesson from Google, whose Google Glass, though more expensive, flopped on release. The firm decided to incorporate a light on the glasses that turns on when the glasses are recording video.
Before launch, Google had to deflect the fear that everything and everyone near enough to a Glass would be recorded and stored by Google. Many of the fears were grossly unfounded, however; Glass was not deemed to be a major source of privacy issues. Still, the hype from privacy replaced the excitement about the device in many circles. Privacy is an often listed reason that the device failed to gain any commercial success.
Unlike Google Glass, the Spectacles have been deemed by reviewers at Wired as being more affordable, more useful, and generally less creepy. The Spectacles also look like a normal pair of sunglasses. The cost stays on the more affordable side of the popular brand, Ray-Ban.
Priced at $129.99, Snapchat’s CEO, Even Spiegel, described the device as more of a “toy” designed to allow users to see more of what is in front of them. They are also designed to prevent users from keeping their devices “like a wall in front of your face.”
Snapchat has gathered 150 million daily users since its launch in 2012. The company is currently valued at $20 billion.
Known as Snap by loyal followers, the company also recently officially changed its name from Snapchat to Snap.
Snap entered the marketplace at a time where user-generated video was popular online, but had not yet exploded. However, it now has more competition like Instagram. The Facebook-owned photo sharing site has notably plundered Snapchat of its most valuable features.
Some reviewers note that Snapchat’s entrance into the hardware market with the launch of Spectacles may give it an edge over competitors.
Snap’s 26-year-old CEO was first spotted wearing what was allegedly an early prototype of the glasses on vacation in 2015. Paparazzi photos of Spiegel and girlfriend Miranda Kerr showed him wearing a pair of circular sunglasses that likely featured cameras on each side of the glasses. Business Insider reported that the glasses shared similarities with glasses created by Vergence Labs.
Snapchat acquired Vergence Labs in 2014.
Snapchat Spectacles will first arrive via a limited release. The expected release date is this fall, though no release date has been set either for the limited release or wide general release to the public.
[Featued Image by Carl Court/Getty Images]