Remember the days when glasses were for people with bad eyesight or to shield our eyes from the sun? No? Us neither.
Snapchat (who have now rebranded themselves as ‘Snap. Inc’) have announced that they will be releasing a pair of sunglasses with a twist…they have an in-built camera. We don’t blame them for trying something a little ‘out there’ after Instagram essentially stole their best feature.
The ‘Snap Spectacles’ contain a video-camera that records footage and can be posted to users’ snapchat stories via the ‘memories’ function. Users activate the camera by tapping a button in top left-hand corner of the glasses. The camera will then capture 10 seconds of video, storing it in the specs until it is transferred to the users smartphone.
And for those of you who feel unsettled by the thought of someone filming you via their sunglasses (so, everyone), fear not. Snap Specs have an outward facing light that is activated once the camera is switched on.
What about Google Glass?
Google was the last company to attempt a pair of video-camera spectacles, and it’s safe to say it didn’t exactly go down well. Google said “this is the future!” and the world said “no”. The wearable lasted 2 years before it seemed even Google admitted they simply weren’t for the masses.
Google Glass faced heavy criticism, The product was viewed as invasive, weird-looking and borderline creepy. Of course, there were also safety concerns. Drivers were becoming distracted by the tiny screen on the side of their glasses. Oh, and users were labelled ‘glassholes’.
Here’s Prince Charles doing his bit for Google Glass’ street cred…
They also cost a whopping $1500.
But will Snap Spec’s share the same fate? Whilst the specs may struggle to achieve long lasting superstardom, as other companies battle to get in on the action, we think this product might just have the edge.
Evan Spiegel himself called them a ‘toy’. The glasses are fun, they’re bright, they’re quirky. They’re a bit of a joke. And we mean a funny joke, not an awkward joke like Google Glass.
Essentially, Snap Specs could succeed because they don’t take themselves too seriously. They’re not trying to do too much. Spiegel has struck the balance between a serious piece of technology, and a techie toy for social-media addicted teenagers.
Snapchat’s existing userbase
Snapchat’s existing userbase are predominantly young, sociable, smartphone-enthusiasts. Supposedly 9000 snaps are shared on Snapchat every second, that’s a lot of snapping. People love posting on Snapchat. It’s more private than Facebook, and more fun than Instagram. Oh, and there’s little chance of your Nan adding you.
Snapchat’s huge userbase could do wonders for the Specs when they launch. Whilst Google Glass was seen as creepy, Snapchat’s notably younger target demographic conjures images of teenagers snapping their friends in the sun, as opposed to people on the street in oversized, beige anoraks talking to strangely futuristic see-through strips across their eyes.
Whilst other wearable tech has generally been marketed towards wealthy professionals or fitness enthusiasts (and has been met with a decidedly ‘meh’ response), Snapchat’s users are already used to sharing a large portion of their lives online and with followers. Combine social media with an actual fashion accessory, and you’ve got yourself a winner.
The specs cost $130, which is definitely at the lower end in terms of wearable technology. And as actual sunglasses? They cost less than the average pair of Raybans. With it’s built-in camera that links to social media, we think the price is unlikely to deter the determined youths of 2016.
They’re kind of cool…
We say ‘cool’, but what we mean is ‘weird-looking-in-a-good-way’ which seems to be the thing nowadays. I mean, you wouldn’t catch me wearing them on a sunny day but we could well see hundreds of teenagers sporting the specs at the latest festival to hit the Great British countryside.
The specs are available in black, coral or teal. They’re bright and bold – they’re a hipster’s dream.
They are more ‘Go-Pro’ than ‘computer’
Whilst Google Glass faced criticism for distracting drivers and making conversations awkward as users were often focusing on the teeny-weeny in-built computer, Snap Specs seem to be going in a different direction.
They are not ‘smartglasses’. Instead, they are to be seen as a more convenient, less extreme, Go-Pro. They’re techie in a far less serious way than Google Glass was. The promotional video shows a group of happy millennials enjoying the summer and snapping their activities with ease.
Despite the privacy concerns that will no doubt sweep the population, we think, if used correctly, Snap Specs are a great start for Snapchat for their expansion into wearable tech.
Hats off to Snapchat for raising the bar in wearables, creating a product that doesn’t constantly track and analyse our every move. Instead, Snap Specs are a way for users to enjoy and share fun experiences in the sun with their friends, without having to use their smartphones.
We’re sure it won’t be long before Instagram does something similar.