After an unassuming product launch a few weeks ago, Snap Inc. has continued to allow their newest creation, Spectacles to fly under the radar. Snap was fortunate to follow in the broken footsteps of Google Glass. They were able to look into the failures of Glass and design a product that presented an entirely different narrative.
Instead of making an augmented reality device for your face that would have a lasting impact greater than any we’d ever witnessed, Snap decided to make a “toy”. Something that would be best suited for fun outdoor activities. And they were able to complete the experience by designing them as sunglasses. Instead of trying to redesign how glasses can work, Snap decided to combine a pair of sunglasses with a camera. Creating an entirely new tool for capturing a quick experience. Spectacles aren’t intended to be worn inside. They’re meant to be worn while you’re out having a good time, whether you’re at a party, concert, or any other outdoor daytime activity; Spectacles are designed for fun.
Spectacles essentially operate under the same principles that Snapchat does. Videos are limited to 10 seconds, and you have to physically push a button in order to engage the core functionality of the application. The videos from Spectacles are uploaded to your Snap account where they can then be shared on your story, or put into memories. Unlike Google Glass, Spectacle has a flash on the frame that informs people when someone is recording something. It’s an interesting feature that could either be a positive, or a negative, but it’s too early know.
The difference between Spectacle and Snapchat can be seen when you think about the perspective that Spectacles are able to provide. You are literally creating a point of view video that you can go back and experience again. You can remember moments like you are seeing them again for a second time. Actually viewing them from the same perspective you did originally. And by developing their own product, Snap was able to put a better camera in Spectacles. They are no longer beholden to the constraints of the Apple and Android cameras. They are now able to capture a larger viewing field and create a more immersive experience.
Snap decided to limit Spectacles distribution until they can get a better understanding of how it will be incorporated into everyday life. They don’t want to be another California company with a failed pair of glasses. Snap also decided to make the price point for Spectacles much more affordable than Google did with Glass. At $129.99, Spectacles is a more palpable purchase for average consumers than Glass could have ever been. And considering the massive amount of users that Snap has, I wouldn’t be surprised if Spectacles became a new and lucrative revenue stream for the company.