Snap Inc., the company behind the millennial-centric social media platform Snapchat, first released its camera-equipped Spectacles last November. Until now, the smart sunglasses have only been available through traveling vending machines that appeared in select US cities, but the company has just launched an online ordering option.
The glasses work like a wearable, social media-specific GoPro camera. They take point-of-view videos as you wear them (up to 30 seconds long) which automatically upload to Snapchat. The glasses aren't compatible with other apps. The glasses record round video footage, so viewers on the Snapchat app can rotate their phones to see more footage in the landscape and portrait orientations.
The initial scarcity of Spectacles seemed to be part of the product's marketing plan, which makes the online release surprising to some. However, Snap Inc. is planning on going public in the coming months, so the online store is likely an attempt to generate revenue ahead of its initial public offering.
Whether Spectacles can generate that revenue remains to be seen. Despite the mobile technology they pack in, they look like a pair of knockoff Ray-Bans that wouldn't look out of place as a toy in a Happy Meal. And unlike other smart wearables, they don't promise a better or more efficient lifestyle – they are only poised to enhance your social media presence.
At US$130, they are priced more like a toy than a pair of smartglasses – but an expensive toy, nonetheless. Spectacles are available in black, teal or coral and are said to ship to US customers in 2-4 weeks. They ship with a charging case and cord and are compatible with both iPhone and Android phones.
Product page: Snap Inc.