When a piece of kit that retails for $130 start showing up on eBay for $900, you know you have a hit on your hands. Whether Snapchat’s new Spectacles – a curiously old-fashioned word for such a hip brand – will have any staying power remains to be seen but for now these things are the new hotness.
Despite the name, Spectacles are in fact sunglasses with a small video camera built-in to the side of the right lens with a shooting indictor to the side of the left one. In true Snapchat style, you can use this camera to record up to three increments of 10 second video bursts. If the styling of these Spectacles wasn’t so 60s-retro hip, they would be a piece of kit straight out of Mission: Impossible. As it is, however, they look like a slightly more stupid version of a pair of sunglasses that Fisher Price might have designed. No doubt the kids will love them.
There is a video to go with the launch of Spectacles that features a safely diverse group recording their skateboarding adventures. I watched it a few times hoping to see at least one of them faceplant badly and roll around in agony for my amusement but sadly this does not happen. Instead they have a perfect summer’s day that will now be captured for all time. How charming!
According to Snapchat, these glasses feature a camera that records in a cone of 115 degrees to mimic the human eye, therefore the videos it shoots are round. I’m not sure why since when you view your creations – exclusively using the Snapchat app, of course – you will see a cropped version on your phone’s screen. But wait! You will be able to rotate your phone and the video will still display at the correct orientation whichever way you are holding your phone – even at a zany angle! The real reason for the lens is probably because a fish-eye camera was easiest to integrate into the limiting form factor of a pair of child’s sunglasses.
You have to hand it to the marketing department, though. They have played a blinder by only having a very limited release of Spectacles, and only then through a de facto pop-up store called a Snapbot. These things are quite funky looking yellow machines that are packed to the rafters with Spectacles. This is fortunate because there will be a long line of hip young things and scalpers lining up to empty them. If you want to know more about Spectacles, head over to Pocket Lint, who have further details.