The parent company of mobile messaging app Snapchat introduced an odd wearable last year: Snapchat Spectacles are a pair of glasses with a built-in camera that lets you record 10 second of video and wirelessly upload it to Snapchat to share with your friends.
Since this is Snapchat’s first foray into hardware, the funny-looking glasses made a bit of a splash when they launched. But due to limited availability, that splash wasn’t really followed by many waves/ripples… and this analogy is clearly just treading water.
Anyway, Snapchat is now making Spectacles more widely available. Now anyone in the US can buy a pair online for $129.
Snapchat filed for an IPO recently, and as the company prepares to go public, officials have said they want to expand distribution of its Spectacles product this year in hopes of generating some profits from the hardware.
What’s particularly interesting about Spectacles is that they’re not really “smart” glasses in the same way that Google Glass and other wearable displays were envisioned to be. There’s no screen. There’s no support for third-party apps. Instead, these are basically just wearable cameras designed to do only one thing.
And given that one of the criticisms of Google Glass was that people would be afraid that users were constantly capturing private moments in video, it’s a bit surprising that a consumer device that focuses exclusively on sharing video are generating buzz.
Now that Snapchat is making Spectacles more widely available, I guess 2017 is the year when we’ll learn if there’s actually much demand for this type of wearable gadget.