Snapchat’s first hardware product is coming to the market sooner than anyone expected. The company said tonight that it will sell Spectacles, a set of connected sunglasses that record 10-second snippets of video, for $130 sometime this fall. It also rebranded itself as Snap, Inc.
The video, taken down from YouTube after a copyright claim by Snapchat, briefly shows the glasses: big, swoopy shades with an integrated camera above the left eye. But we pretty much knew these things existed already: Snapchat bought camera-glasses company Vergeance for $15 million in 2014, and what we see is basically a rebranded version of their device.
Snapchat Inc. raised $1.8 billion this may and sources have releaved that some of that cash would be for its hardware product to be launched soon.
Spectacles have a single button that you press to begin recording your snap, according to theJournal. The cameras employ a 115-degree lens, which the company says more closely approximates a person’s field of vision. And the cameras record circular video, according to Journal — and effort to create a playback experience that simulates your natural point of view.
‘When I got the footage back and watched it, I could see my own memory, through my own eyes — it was unbelievable,” Spiegel told the Journal, recalling a hike he took wearing the prototype. “It’s one thing to see images of an experience you had, but it’s another thing to have an experience of the experience. It was the closest I’d ever come to feeling like I was there again.”
It’s unlikely that the Snapchat app itself will be renamed — that would be brand suicide. Instead, Snap Inc. is likely to be the umbrella company that administers the various properties in this burgeoning media platform.
Spectacles will naturally be compared to Google Glass. But because they are sunglasses, they will be less conspicuous than Google’s. They’re cheaper, too — not even one-tenth of the price as Glass, which debuted at $1,500. But just as Google did, Snap is marketing Spectacles with a high-fashion gloss.
We’ve reached out to Snapchat regarding the authenticity of the video and the move to Snap, Inc. We’ll update the story if we hear back.