By: Evan Marshall
Snapchat is making sunglasses now, if you haven’t heard. $130 pairs of glasses with a camera inside, which takes snaps of the world without ever removing them from your face, have started descended like magic from strange pop-up vending machines.
Smartglasses are still strange territory. Google Glass died as an awkward joke. Most smartglasses look like the sort of oddball things a normal person wouldn’t wear for more than a few seconds. But these glasses just have a camera, no display. The Spectacles were a surprise announcement earlier in 2016 by Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, along with the launch of Snap, Inc. Snap, Inc. is positioned as a “camera company,” and the Spectacles are its first product.
Pop-up dispensers have become the only way that early adopters can line up and grab a pair to try. A single yellow “Snapbot” vending machine that looks like a minion emerged in Los Angeles, and is now moving around the country to undisclosed locations. People had to line up to buy one before the supply ran out.
Spectacles can record 10-second video clips that upload to Snapchat via an iPhone or Android phone paired through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Place them in the included case to recharge. That bright, colorful packaging is clever, doubling as a way to charge up the Spectacles when not in use. Sure, you need to bring the case around, but you probably would anyway.
The 115-degree wide-angle camera captures video in a circle, so if you view this video in the Snapchat app, you can look at it in horizontally, vertically or by continuing to spin your phone around in any orientation. The video is reframed as needed, meaning you might want to keep repositioning your phone for certain videos. It’s a great idea.
They’re glasses for snapping others, and capturing action shots. In a selfie world, maybe that seems weird. But when it comes to mounted action cameras like GoPro, it’s pretty standard.Again, they’re glasses with an embedded camera, not any sort of deeper set of “smartglasses.” And that’s probably a great idea, because they’re going to be a lot less complicated. And now that everything in the world is being instantaneously live-streamed, the Spectacles could be a simple type of hands-free way of snapping stuff on the go. Or, yes, while doing crazy things.
I have no idea if wearing video-capturing glasses is finally acceptable, but we are definitely in a place where everyone already shares everything from their phones. The Snap Spectacles seem like a fun way to have more interactive videos of what you do from your own perspective. I hope to someday get my hands on a pair of these and test them out for myself.