Snapchat broadens its focus with camera-packing Spectacles

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LEDs on the Snapchat Spectacles light to indicate they're recording

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Snapchat, the social network known for vanishing pictures and funky filters, is branching out into the world of wearables with a set of Spectacles. The glasses have a camera on each side, which the company says are among the world's smallest and record in a new, circular format.

The 115-degree field of view provided by the cameras is significantly wider than smartphones can manage, although it isn't quite on the same playing field as the 170-degree view offered by GoPros.

There's no official number provided for battery life, but Snap says the sunglasses should last long enough for a full day of happy snapping. When the battery runs dry users can plonk the glasses back into their case, which can top them up four times on a single charge.

Capable of recording clips up to 30 seconds long, users tap the left side of the glasses to start a 10-second recording. Unlike most other video-recording eyewear, LED lights on the frame let your friends (or unsuspecting strangers) and you know the camera is rolling.

Videos are sent to a connected smartphone through Wi-Fi (Android and iOS) or Bluetooth (iOS), and users can access them in the Memories section of the Snapchat app. The glasses can also store videos themselves until users come back into wireless range of their phone.

It will be interesting to see if integrating the device with an existing app will make it more successful than other takes on the wearable recorder idea, which range from video-recording glasses that look like standard sunglasses, to Google Glass and blink-controlled cameras.

No official launch date has been announced, but Snap Inc. says a limited number will be available soon in three different colors, (black, teal, and coral), for US$130.

Check out the glasses in action in the launch video below.

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