In a double-whammy announcement, messaging firm Snapchat have announced that they are launching their first ever gadget, as well as renaming itself.
Firstly, the new gadget…which has been given the revolutionary name of “Spectacles”! At the time of writing, I’m fairly sure that I’ve heard of this word before, but I’ll need to go check once I’ve finished!
The second part of the announcement was that Snapchat was renaming itself Snap Inc, given that it’s reach now extends beyond it’s hugely popular mobile app.
The Spectacles are basically sunglasses, with a built-in camera, capable of filming 10-second bursts at the touch of a button. Each button tap records another 10-second clip, with the glasses purported to have a battery life capable of lasting a full day.
The camera uses an 115-degree angle lens, with the promise of delivering a fundamentally different view of the world, due to its circular video that is closer to the images seen through the human eye.
Whether you love the Snapchat app or have severe misgivings about its use, Spectacles is certainly an interesting development. Promotional videos have surfaced, showing images of everything from skateboarding teens to cherished moments spent with children, that are then viewed later by what I assume are grandparents, who couldn’t be there. There will be calls for a review of breach of privacy, but this is no different than people videoing their surroundings via their smartphone.
The biggest reservation I have over whether the Snap Inc. Spectacles will be a major consumer hit, is that the design of them will be very subjective. Granted, this design certainly isn’t as “out there” as the ill-fated Google Glass. No doubt the hipsters on Venice beach, with their endless amounts of sunshine will flock to the stores to buy them. But consumers sheltering from the rain, on a cold, wet & windy December day in the UK? I’m not so sure.
The Spectacles are due for release later this year, with an asking price of $129 (circa £100), and will be produced in limited quantities, to begin with.