Back in 2016, Snap Inc. introduced the first pair of Spectacles. They’re sunglasses with a camera and wireless connectivity that sync with your phone to upload videos to your Snapchat story. They work and all, but Snap didn’t really sell any. In fact, they have hundreds of thousands of units left over which cost them $40 million.
Of course, this doesn’t mean Snap is giving up on the concept. In fact, today, the company is introducing a second generation of Spectacles that improve upon the first pair.
For starters, the overall profile is smaller. Before, there was a chunky protrusion that sat near the glasses themselves to store all the necessary internals to make Spectacles work. This time around, that protrusion has shrunk and, therefore, has allowed Snap to reduce the overall form factor of the glasses. They also weigh less and, supposedly, feel better on your face.
The new design is also waterproof. Snap is touting the new Spectacles are “made for summer” and, unless you live on another planet, you know that means a lot of wet activities. Unfortunately, we don’t have an IP rating so we can’t specify just how waterproof the glasses are, but you shouldn’t have to worry if you’re near the pool and someone does a cannonball.
As for the specs of the glasses, not much has changed. The camera has remained in the same location but is surrounded by lights instead of a yellow ring to indicate battery percentage. Spectacles now default to recording HD video which is nice, but what’s even nicer is the fact that you can take photographs with them now. For whatever reason, this wasn’t a feature of the original Spectacles so it’s nice to finally see it make its way to the product.
Snap has also sped up transfer speeds when it comes to uploading videos and photos to Snapchat. According to the company, Spectacles are now up to four times faster at getting content to your story. Only real world usage will determine whether this is true or not so stay tuned.
To charge Spectacles, Snap includes a case that can provide enough juice for up to four full charges. For this generation, the case is much slimmer than before and should fit easier in your pocket or purse.
For those who have prescription glasses, Snap can even implement custom lenses into your Spectacles if you order through them. I’m not sure how many people will want prescription Spectacles, but hey, the option’s there.
All of this leads to how much Snap wants for a pair of Spectacles. Unfortunately, it’s gonna cost more this time around. Whereas the original set cost $130, the new pair will set you back $150. Whether increasing the price of the glasses was the right move will only be proven over time, but I’m pretty sure no one is actually a fan of paying more for something they might not even ultimately use.
Still, it’s nice to see Snap being a bit relentless. Losing $40 million due to producing a product no one wanted to buy is pretty devastating, so it’s cool to see the company get back up on the horse. And yeah, there’s no telling just how well the new Spectacles will sell, but here’s to them doing okay.