Snapchat’s playful shot at sunglasses
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.