Snap, Inc. (formerly Snapchat) recently upped the wearable and social technologies markets with its introduction of Spectacles, sunglasses equipped with an integrated video camera that lets wearers share moments socially from their unique perspective.
According to Snap’s press release: “Spectacles connect directly to Snapchat via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and transfer your Memories directly into the app in our brand new circular video format. Circular video plays full screen on any devices, in any orientation, and captures the human perspective with a 115-degree field of view.”
See What the Wearer Sees
Not only will those wearing the Spectacles be able to capture “Memories” with 10-second videos, they will also be able to share instantly with their friends and followers from one device. While Google Glass finds a role in the enterprise across industries, Snap’s Spectacles could be the consumer camera to take the wearable market by storm with their retro design and fun-based campaign.
And the market for wearable technologies continues to grow, according to London-based analyst firm CCS Insights, which earlier this year forecasted that 411 million smart wearables worth $34 billion would be sold in 2020. The projected data is based on figures that show revenue for wearables poised to reach $14 billion in 2016. The firm expects eyewear numbers to approach 100 million (according to the forecast released in February 2016, months prior to Snap’s product news).
Social Sharing with Sunglasses
Snap is showing how well it knows its customer with these glasses. Let's face it: everyone wears sunglasses.
While Google Glass looked futuristic, Spectacles look more contemporary and hip, maybe intentionally not trying to look too technical. Spectacles come in three shades: black, teal and coral, with a rounded design.
Priced at about $129 (Google Glass reportedly was priced around $1500), Spectacles can potentially reach more consumers at that lower cost. And Snap boasts about 150 million consumers already using its social app. The idea that they could smoothly transition with updates via the eyewear isn’t such a stretch.
With lights to indicate it is recording, the device captures these 10-second videos by taps from the wearers. The reported (Spectacles are coming “soon”) ease of use will also draw in the (many millennial) Snap users who could also afford the more accessible price point.
Security Issues on the Horizon?
As it is early days for Spectacles, it remains to be seen if Snap has met the “consumer camera via wearable eyewear” market demands just yet.
For instance, privacy concerns will most likely crop up among those non-Spectacles users that perhaps don't want to become part of someone else's “Memories”. The idea of unwanted observation from random strangers doesn't sit well with the general population, despite the same group sometimes being fascinated with the advances in technology.
And it also is unclear how well Spectacles work and the level of video quality the device offers. Until real-world users get their hands on them or get them on their respective faces, the reality of the wearable will remain unknown.
But perhaps the company, already known for capturing the right audience with the right technology in the social media realm, captured the next big thing for wearables with this embedded video camera.