The organisation behind the image messaging app Snapchat has released its new wearable tech ‘Spectacles’. So could these digital specs be the camera of the future?
Last year we covered the initial announcement of Snap Inc.’s Spectacles, and now, seven months later, the quirky new product has finally reached UK shores.
The Spectacles are essentially sunglasses that double up as a camera. Twin lenses, positioned just above your eyes, can capture video from your perspective at the touch of a button. The video is then automatically beamed to your smartphone ready to share with friends using the Snapchat app.
— Spectacles (@Spectacles) June 2, 2017
Available from a special vending machine in central London or to order online, a pair will set you back around £130. They’re certainly an interesting idea, but could you see these Spectacles taking off?
After pairing your Spectacles with your smartphone, you can record video clips up to 30 seconds long by pressing a button on the side of the glasses.
— Joakim Larsen (@joakimlarsen94) June 4, 2017
With the Spectacles, you don’t have to get your phone (or your camera) out of your pocket or bag to capture a video, so they encourage you to document memorable moments in a more spontaneous way.
A light on the outside of the glasses illuminates when you’re recording, so people around you will know when you’re recording.
The Spectacles are being sold in limited numbers from vending machines called Snapbots. This marketing is every bit as quirky as the glasses themselves, and the Snapbots are more than a little reminiscent of the ‘Minions’ characters from the film Despicable Me.
When you stand in front of the Snapbot, a large, circular video screen blinks like a cartoon eye before showing you an ‘augmented reality’ video of yourself wearing the Spectacles – a sort of virtual try before you buy service.
The vending machines have been appearing in major cities around the US and Europe, most recently arriving in London. They’ve clearly been succeeding in creating a buzz too – long queues have been reported at Snapbots in the US, and pairs of Spectacles have been listed on eBay for more than $1,000 (£770).
Photos of the future
This is the first hardware product that Snap Inc. has ever released, and it has the potential to really shake up the tech industry. Snap Inc. is clearly hoping that products like these will break down the barrier to using its app, and make users more likely to record more spontaneous video.
But much like the ill-fated Google Glass, there are clear questions about privacy too. While there is a light on the glasses that indicates whether they’re recording, they’re still fairly discreet.
So, we’d love to know your thoughts on this unusual product – will these Spectacles take off? Could they persuade you to use Snapchat? Or, if you already use it, do you think you’d record video more frequently if you had a pair?