Image courtesy of Snap Inc.
Snapchat now wants to be a key part of your wardrobe, and not just by plastering augmented reality old lady glasses or trucker hats on your face through their lens feature.
The company, now officially known as Snap Inc. in a corporate capacity, announced the launch of a very real pair of glasses this weekend. Dubbed Spectacles, the new hardware-slash-accessory are a pair of rounded shades that have a camera installed above the eye. With a tap near the temple, users will be able to record 10-second videos, which will be automatically and wirelessly updated into your Snapchat memories folder.
And those videos won't just be your regular old iPhone video either. They'll be recorded in a round format, and your audience can catch the full 360-degree action by rotating their phones.
Coming in black, teal and coral and retailing at $130 (less than many non-tech enabled designer sunglasses), Spectacles will undoubtedly be more in demand among cool teens than front row seats at Dolce & Gabbana. The novelty of the hardware should also help Snapchat hold off its newly debuted competition, Instagram Stories.
The aspiration is a bit less grand than what Google had for their own wearable tech, Glass, but in an interview Wall Street Journal, Snap Inc. chief executive Evan Spiegel does admit that Spectacles are more of a toy rather than some game changing technology. In fact, a better comparison might be a GoPro camera, rather than a Glass. It's just a tool for capturing point-of-view video after all, rather than a mini-computer in glasses form.
Which means its use for, say, hikers, skateboarders and other outdoorsy types seem obvious, but what about the rest of us? Those of us who spend most of our days attached to technology rather than prancing about in nature.
Because, here's a list of things that Spectacles don't seem like they're particularly apt at:
Selfies: Snapchatters number one favorite thing to record is their own face. That's pretty much half the appeal. A camera attached to one's face makes that nearly impossible. In this way, they're sort of the anti-selfie stick. Unless you think you have a mirror nearby and happen to think you look good in both the glasses and from that particular angle, then these aren't, particularly, selfie friends.
For that matter, Snapchatters second most favorite use of the app – capturing other body parts – isn't particularly easy to do with Spectacles either.
Capturing Concerts: In theory, Spectacles should lend themselves well to recording snippets of concerts. Until you remember that wearing actual sunglasses inside at night in a dark theater is ridiculous and hampers your own personal enjoyment of the show. They might only be practical for the daytime lineup at summer festivals. Even then, they might only work for people who are tall and can easily see above the crowd.
Here's what Spectacles could come in good use for:
Capturing Hands-On Tutorials: Nail art how to stories on Snapchat are about to explode. Suddenly you'll see exactly how each and every one of your friends prepared their avocado toast this morning.
Pets and Babies: As Spiegel points out in the WSJ article, Spectacles free up a users hands to record themselves petting their dogs or tickling small children. Because social media desperately needed vastly improved pet and baby content.
Point-of-view shopping trips: Sure, why not? You can have your followers help you decide which top goes best with your sunglasses with the help of your actual sunglasses.
Pulling Pranks on Your Mom: The poor mothers of social media savvy teen pranksters are about to have it even worse. At least they knew that when their kid had their phone up and recording that something was probably up.
Sitting Front Row at Fashion Shows: The runway front row is one of the few places where it's totally acceptable to wear sunglasses inside. It is, however, less socially acceptable to be the person so thirsty for personal brand content that you're recording every second of the shows on their phones. It's a niche problem, sure, but finally, here's the perfect way to capture each and every look.
Documenting more narcissistic nonsense that no one other than your closest friends or most devoted followers want to see clogging up their Snapfeed: Bingo!