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Snapchat Spectacles - what?!

Insight • By LEILA GUDDOY • 04 October 2016

Snapchat has recently undergone a rebranding to the slightly-more-generic Snap, Inc. in a bid to reflect its new direction as a "camera company".

With this change comes a tentative foray into wearable tech with the launch of its new product: Spectacles. 

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What is this futuristic wizardry?

Spectacles is a pair of shades with a built-in camera that can record 10-second video clips with the tap of a button on the side. You then upload these to your Snapchat Memories over wifi or bluetooth. The camera has a 115-degree lens which mimics the human visual experience for a more realistic view of what you, the protagonist, are seeing with your actual human eyes.

Didn't Google try the same thing with Glass, which royally tanked?

Google Glass was the all-singing, all-dancing supercomputer that was widely regarded as too feature-heavy for its own good. The biggest differentiator is that where Google made the assumption Glass would make us significantly adjust our behaviour and the world kind of went “lol, nope”, Snapchat’s gone for the softer nudge. Instead of professing to change your life it just wants to inject a bit of fun into your social media endeavours. And who can argue with that? Plus, we can’t think of anything as good as ‘Glasshole’ so I guess we’re just gonna have to embrace it.

Do you reckon they’ll catch on?

Well, Spectacles aren’t being heralded as The Future Of Computing. They’re really just a pair of shades with a camera that cost about what you’d pay for some nice sunnies anyway. In fact they’re so unassuming, critics might even forget to get offended.

What does this mean for brands?

Spectacles will open up a realm of new commercial possibilities. As the circular video will work in landscape, square and vertical formats we could see brands using Spectacles as a content capture device to create unique video for all advertising mediums. It’s also a perfect opportunity to delve deeper into the lives of brand ambassadors, who can create exciting new content for them. Young consumers’ expectations will shift, meaning brands need to move swiftly to take advantage of the as-yet-untapped kudos on offer.

What does the future hold for Spectacles?

If Spectacles get a positive reception we might see Snap dipping its toe into more ambitious features that aim to revolutionise the way we do social in the future like AR and facial/product recognition – even data capture. But for the moment it’s taking a softly-softly approach. CEO Evan Spiegel says “It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it".

How much will these bad boys cost?

Around £100.

But teal-coloured sunglasses would clash with 98% of my wardrobe. How do I get round this?

It’s ok, they come in black and coral too.

And when can I get my hands on them?? Tell me.

Snapchat is making a "limited number" of Spectacles for the foreseeable future. It’ll be taking a slow approach to rolling them out, starting this Autumn. Cue a new wave of social (media) elite, coming soon to a tech convention near you.

A Sixty-Second Snapchat Summary

  • Snap Inc. (formally Snapchat) was co-founded by 26-year-old Evan Spiegel in 2011
  • 100 million daily active users
  • The rebrand comes a year after Snap launched its ad business
  • It now sells ads on its Discover and Stories platforms
  • Forecasted to reach nearly $1bn (£773m) in global advertising sales in 2017

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