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Snap Inc. (formerly Snapchat Inc.) has officially launched its first hardware product Snapchat Spectacles early this morn November 10, 2016. The sunglasses feature one-touch recording camera action that shoots circular video similar to a person’s field of view. Footage captured is synced via Bluetooth to Snapchat’s mobile app and is accessible through “Memories.”
We were fortunate enough to have secured a few pairs and have been experimenting with their capabilities and functionalities since! Here’s a firsthand account of how to use Snapchat Spectacles, a brief history of their development, roll out, and inception, and future implications and impact in media and advertising.
Snapchat first announced news of Spectacles on September 24, 2016 through their blog post and with the accompanying introductory videos:
In their intro post, Snapchat shares what makes Spectacles unique (see details below in our section “What Are Snapchat Spectacles”) but only disclosed that they’ll launch soon. Many drew the comparison between Snapchat’s Spectacles and Google’s failed Glass (Fortune). While both feature face-wearable camera tech, the similarities end there.
Fortune’s article details the salient differences (including a near $1,400 price difference) and also points out Google Glass’s shortcomings—namely unwieldiness and its (lack of) functionality/uses—shortcomings where Spectacles aims to solve or provide a completely different direction for a face-mounted camera.
Snapchat’s latest app update on Tuesday revealed Spectacle functionality and two days later, the first Snapchat Spectacles were available for sale:
Snapchat Spectacles will initially be sold via “Snapbots,” vending machines that allow you to virtually try on a pair (via Snapchat’s facial recognition technology) and dispenses rainbow colored receipts reminiscent of its (in)famous in-app filters. The first Snapbot arrived in Venice near Snapchat’s headquarters early morning on Thursday, November 11, 2016:
via Snapchat Spectacles Twitter.
via Stevo Jacobs’ Twitter retweeted by Spectacles
Snapchat Spectacles are video camera sunglasses that produce 10-second circular video clips synced directly to your Snapchat Memories. Spectacles.com features the following “Spectacles 101” explainer text: For additional information on Snapchat Spectacles including FAQs, how to find Snapbots and more, visit Spectacle Support here.
Spectacles can film an entire day’s worth of content on a single charge. Spectacles charges via its proprietary case and/or included cable (Business Insider details Snap’s patent). The sunglasses’ lights flash when charging:
Snapchat’s Spectacles allows for filming in 115-degree circular video—a new format designed to mimic what a person naturally perceives from their field of view. According to Snapchat’s founder Evan Spiegel, this format is akin recalling a favorite memory as it was seen. This new format plays and transitions seamlessly from horizontal to vertical viewing:
While it’s early to predict the longstanding effect Snapchat Spectacles will have, Spectacles could potentially impact how content is created and consumed. At minimum, Spectacles allows creators a new, hands-free way of capturing content (save for manually tapping the record button) while almost instantaneously sharing with fans and followers.
On its homepage, Spectacles’ circular video demo suggests use while skateboarding or performing other action-centric activities. Similar to how drones have impacted media and influencer content, Spectacles offers its users a new style of filming, format, editing (from within the Snapchat app), and sharing.
Many have compared Spectacles with Google Glass however after its debut, users are likening its function more closely to GoPro. Pending its user adoption and affinity, Spectacles and its (now) novel filming view could chart the way for a new standard content format or style (i.e. YouTube Pending its user adoption and affinity, Spectacles and its (now) novel filming view could chart the way for a new standard content format or style (i.e. YouTube unboxing videos, vlogging, Let’s Plays, selfie, etc.).
With a fundamentally different video content format that closely resembles a person’s natural field of view, Snapchat Spectacles may be at the inception of revolutionizing the next popular form of media.