Snapchat is Making a Spectacle

New Tech

Remember that time when Google promised us ‘Google Glass’ and then completely disappointed us? We were so excited when Google announced its plans to create a head-mounted, wearable computer. We thought we had finally made it to “the Future”. And then Google Glass was released, or at least a very expensive (~$1,500) beta version was, full of bugs and pretty much incomplete. It was all downhill from there, and the project has since been discontinued.

But don’t give up just yet! Snapchat is making headlines by attempting once again to take us all to the next level with their new (and limited) release of Snap Specs! Here is the need-to-knows on what exactly these crazy things are all about:

 

WHO: Snapchat! Well, actually, it’s just Snap now. The company did a little bit of housekeeping back in late September 2016 and now we will know them as ‘Snap, Inc.’

WHAT: ‘Spectacles’ are video-recording sunglasses with a 115-degree-angle lens. The wearer can take up to thirty seconds worth of video at any given time. Although only 10 seconds can be posted, the remaining time recorded will be broken into additional snaps. The recorded media will live on the glasses until you choose to transfer them to your Snapchat app, where they will be saved in the memories section.

It’s a one-size fits all deal, coming in colors of teal, coral, or black. The user gets an inward-facing light to signal that their camera is activated. To be slightly less creepy, everyone on the other side of the lenses gets an outward-facing light so that they know they are being filmed. The Specs come with a charging case with about a week’s worth of juice, although Snap promises that the glasses will last about a full day without requiring any charging. All this coming in at the low, low price of just $129.99.

WHERE: Alright so here’s the thing… Before you head over to Amazon or rush out of the house to go buy one of these new quirky colored wearable tech pieces, know that you probably won’t be able to find them.

Snapchat only just began selling Specs on November 10th, and they are in a very, very limited quantity. So limited, in fact, that you can only buy them from these minion-like yellow vending machines known as Snapbots. images.jpg

Seriously, why the minion face?

Anyways, the first sighting was in Venice, California, however they will continue to pop up unpredictably in different cities for a while. The Spectacles website will be providing a map to the Snapbot’s location 24 hours in advance (oh the suspense) and supposedly a local filter will become available to those on Snapchat who are within reach of the mysterious minion-machines.

WHY: So why risk the humiliating failure that Google went through with Glass? Some believe it’s Snapchat’s way of throwing down the gauntlet with Facebook, it’s biggest rival. If this endeavor is successful, it will prove that Snapchat is ready to start playing with the big boys and move beyond social-sharing into tech hardware.

For another thing, Snapchat is all about being cool and sharing personal moments with others. The glasses don’t look dorky like Google’s did (no offense, Google), so the adoption of this new device is already set up to be more successful with its target audience. Specs are also capable of reaching people on a level that Facebook can’t, simply because Facebook tends to be a little more formal and stiff than Snapchat is. I mean, you wouldn’t want to post a video on there that you grandmother could see, right?

And what’s just really cool is the bigger picture for users that Snapchat is attempting to connect with through Specs. CEO Evan Spiegel was quoted saying that recording video or taking photos with your phone “puts a wall in front of your face”. Snapchat is all about sharing your “in-the-moment” experiences with others, so that wall can be a problem for the user experience. Spectacles are intended to help tear down that wall and let people move out from the sidelines and actually be able to participate in the moment again.

Right now, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not Spectacles will actually make it big. But the main point here is that Snapchat is proving with these Specs that they are still relevant. I’d like to see Instagram try and copy THAT.