Snapchat’s play­ful shot at sun­glasses

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

LOS AN­GE­LES (TNS): A PA­PARAZZI pho­to­graph of Snapchat Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Evan Spiegel pre­ma­turely re­vealed the Los An­ge­les com­pany’s first piece of con­sumer elec­tron­ics: a pair of video-cam­era sun­glasses.

Though it spoiled the sur­prise de­liv­ered two weeks ago, the fact that Spiegel felt com­fort­able wear­ing the shades where he did – in pub­lic with his su­per­model fi­ancée a month ago – sug­gests the gad­get may suc­ceed where sim­i­lar prod­ucts from ri­vals fell short.

Google, Facebook and oth­ers that have re­leased head-mounted tech­nol­ogy have pre­sumed their tools would get peo­ple to sig­nif­i­cantly ad­just their be­hav­ior. With a prod­uct that looks like or­di­nary sun­glasses with some odd dec­o­ra­tion on the hinges, Snapchat is go­ing for a softer nudge. It’s en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to try a fa­mil­iar-look­ing prod­uct to ex­per­i­ment with a new way of tak­ing videos.

Spiegel may have a plan for smart­glasses as so­phis­ti­cated as Google Glass or Facebook’s Ocu­lus Rift, but he’s start­ing off with a goofy name, one fea­ture, an on-trend look, a lower price and no pub­lic goal of do­ing any­thing more than help­ing peo­ple pre­serve memories.

If he’s right, Snapchat Spec­ta­cles could be­come the first piece of high-tech head­gear that peo­ple want to wear and feel com­fort­able be­ing around.

Spec­ta­cles in­te­grates a small video cam­era and a no­ti­fi­ca­tion light in the cor­ners where lenses meet hinges. The cam­era wire­lessly trans­mits 10-sec­ond clips to Snapchat’s im­age-shar­ing app, one of the world’s most pop­u­lar mo­bile ser­vices.

Though they don’t fa­cil­i­tate self­ies, Spec­ta­cles cap­tures wide-an­gle cir­cu­lar video, en­abling view­ers to ro­tate their mo­bile de­vices to see more of a scene than a smart­phone video does. The sun­glasses will cost US$130 when they launch this fall.

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