Snap Inc., formerly known as Snapchat, best known for its transient messaging and photo-sharing social media app, introduced its latest product innovation, Spectacles. Spectacles is a bold-colored, camera-embedded wearable. It records videos in 10-second increments through a 115-degree camera lens.
In a video ad introducing the new hardware, a group of skateboard girls use Spectacles to document their sick moves as they weave around a Los Angeles skate park.
Videos captured with Spectacles fundamentally differ from their phone-captured counterparts because they are much closer to the user’s natural field of view. Spectacles also have a feature that allows users to easily sync videos with their smartphones to share with followers.
“It’s not about an accumulation of photos defining who you are,” says Spiegel. “It’s about instant expression and who you are right now. Internet-connected photography is really a reinvention of the camera. And what it does is allow you to share your experience of the world while also seeing everyone else’s experience of the world, everywhere, all the time.”
While Spectacles may seem like a fun and playful novelty item, Spiegel doesn’t see them this way. Spiegel believes they will change the future of photography. The young CEO hopes that Spectacles will make videos feel more like an archive of memories and less like bland snippets from a camera phone.
Snap is yet to announce the availability of Spectacles. “We’re going to take a slow approach to rolling them out,” stated Snap CEO, Evan Spiegel. “It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it.” What is known is that the initial production of these glasses is limited and comes with a $130 price tag. This is relatively inexpensive when you compare it to the $1,500 the search giant is asking for Google Glass.
It’s hard not to compare Spectacles to Google Glass. Their resemblance is similar, in that they are both glasses. However, their functionality is worlds apart. Google Glass is advertised as a wearable that changes one’s experience by augmenting reality. Spectacles on the other hand is a wearable made specifically to document experiences from a first person perspective. It has been over three years since the release of Google Glass, so perhaps the masses have had enough time to warm up to the idea of wearables.
What is Next?
While Snap stated that the stock will be limited, there are rumors that the now camera company will consider an initial public offering in the near future. Earlier this month, Snap apparently attended a meeting with investment banks and a new line of credit has been secured from Morgan and Stanley.
Since its inception in 2011, the company accumulated $2.5 billion worth of funding from a long list of investors which includes: SV Angel, Benchmark Capital, Sequoia, Light Speed Venture Partners and Spark Capital. Recently, Snap secured a $1.8 round in May at a valuation between $16 Billion to $22 Billion.