Snapchat Spectacles: The Good, the bad and the reality

Riddhi Sharma
New Update
Snap Spectacles

If you constantly strive to keep your social life abuzz no matter if you are on a holiday or out for work. Then, Social media app Snapchat's latest 'sunglasses' called Spectacles is godsend for you. Remember the feeling, when you are into a moment, you want to capture it instantly without even wasting a second and post it on your favourite social media site?


Well, Snap Inc. glasses can record video, 10 seconds at a time, by tapping a button on the device. And the super awesome deal is that it then uploads the video to the Memories section of the popular image-messaging app via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

The glasses are the first hardware from Snapchat that recently announced its company to be now called Snap Inc. since it now has more than one product. The app, however, will retain the name Snapchat.


So these glasses record what is referred to as "circular video," meaning it plays full-screen on any device in any orientation. Though you might have a deja-vu moment as Snap Inc. Spectacles remind us of Google's venture into eyewear, Google Glass. So, it took photos and video, but that device also had a screen that let you surf the web as well and cost $1,500.

But Google shuttered that venture in early 2015 after it received a tepid response from users. Will Snapchat succeed in something that Google failed miserably?


Well, lets just wait and watch! The spectacles will be available in the U.S. in the fall on a limited basis and cost $130.

The Good:

The device captures video with an 115-degree wide view lens in a circular format that can be watched full-screen on a phone in any orientation.


It is then stored and can be wirelessly offloaded to a phone over Wifi or Bluetooth so users can edit and share via Snapchat later.

Battery life of these Spectacles is expected to be a day and it comes with a portable charging case that can give it up to four full recharges.


Wvan Spiegel, the CEO of Snap, described how the glasses transformed his latest vacation videos in a recent Wall Street Journal article: "hen I got the footage back and watched it, I could see my own memory, through my own eyes—it was unbelievable. It’s one thing to see images of an experience you had, but it’s another thing to have an experience of the experience."

Snap clarified in their news that the outward facing lights around the camera lens would alert others the user is in recording mode. Still, the darkened sunglass lens could make it less clear what exactly is being recorded.


If we talk numbers, according to the company, about 150 million people use Snapchat daily during which more than 10 billion videos are viewed. And the smartest move is the fact that these Specs cost less than a decent pair of Ray-Bans. Unlike Google glasses, they even look a little like Ray-Bans, not like blender blades reconfigured to fit on your face.

Snapchat has transformed what many assumed would be a fad—messages, photos, and videos that disappear—into a different form of social behavior. Whereas Facebook and Instagram tend to serve as living monuments of people’s lives, Snapchat’s ephemeral nature encourages users to share imperfect photos and videos of the moment.


The Bad

The big question that remains is whether people will need Spectacles when they already have a camera phone? Because at the end you will have to transfer the video to your phone wirelessly or any way.

Agreed, Spectacles represent the next phase of technology, the idea that will make a person let go of his phone and ending up freeing their hands. But what's tricky is that a foray into hardware is decisively more complicated than app development.

A constant check on inventory and the speculation on whether it will appeal the consumers or not will be important things to watch out for. It is easy to undo mistakes in the online app and software worlds. You can issue a newer version and amend the glitchy software with it. Hardware fixes are a different game altogether. See how Samsung note is struggling to recall all its lot with defective batteries.

To recall a hardware piece brings a bad name to the company and waiting for the next model is cumbersome.

After watching the short ad, I'm gonna guess the first gen of Snapchat's Spectacles will be camera only

If the spectacles fail then it will just add to the sea of hardware failures from internet companies so far. Google has to be a leader into such failed hardware names. First their glasses and also the move into smartphone manufacturing with the $12.5 billion acquisition of handset maker Motorola Inc. which then ended in 2014 after just 22 months.

Last but not the least, the privacy concerns over these devices are huge. And no matter how badly you want them most people aren’t going to wear sunglasses at night. Right?

The reality check

To begin with, we need to see if Snapchat has already learnt a few lessons from Google Glasses after it drew negative reviews and raised privacy concerns for its ability to surreptitiously record video.

Getting into the hardware game ain't easy Facebook Inc. also plunged into consumer hardware, this year selling the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset and they suffered a little because of shipping delays.

What does seem like a sigh of relief is that man behind the Spectacles is Former Motorola exec Steve Horowitz who is running Snapchat’s hardware team. Hence, five-year-old Snap, raised more than $2 billion in venture capital, is definitely a bit early into the hardware game.

Going by their marketing plan they seem to have hit the nerve just like the app. Recently, in New York, the company had covered a Wall Street storefront with its ghost - only to change its eyes five days later, Twitter user Zach Khan tweeted this:

Amazon, Google, and Facebook all tested the waters after establishing themselves for more than a decade after they launched their sites.

So, in reality, chances are that Snap could benefit from expectations, youthful zest and also attractive pricing. But it will be challenging to see how the low-margin nature of the consumer-electronics business demands that Spectacles would need to achieve scale to be successful.

So, are you having problems with it? We hope not!