Brightly coloured, retro sunglasses worn by attractive, carefree skateboarders: this is how we are introduced to Spectacles, the first hardware product from the newly-renamed Snap Inc., creators of Snapchat.
Spectacles are more than just a fashion item. With what Snap Inc. describes as “one of the smallest wireless video cameras in the world” integrated into the frame, this piece of tech is designed to work hand in hand with the Snapchat app to record and share your memories in 10 second bursts, filmed from your point of view.
They will go on sale at $130, placing them at the level of an impulse buy – many designer sunglasses are much more expensive than this.
Visually, Spectacles are reminiscent of Google Glass, the greatly anticipated ‘smart glasses’ with in-built processing power and a head-mounted optical display, which was pulled from production in January 2015 after only 8 months on sale to the public.
However, Spectacles have no form of display or feedback. They connect to your phone wirelessly to store your recordings in the Memories section of the Snapchat app. In this respect, they are more akin to a GoPro wearable action camera than to the ill-fated Google Glass.
Snap Inc. aims to “improve the way people live and communicate” by reinventing the camera. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel described his excitement watching his footage from a prototype set of Spectacles: “I could see my own memory, through my own eyes—it was unbelievable.”
One feature in particular has the potential to revolutionise video sharing: Spectacles record videos in a circular format, meaning you can turn your phone from portrait to landscape and the video will keep filling the screen.
Whether or not Spectacles take off, it is not unreasonable to expect that this particular advance is one we will soon be seeing everywhere.