Snapchat en­ters the sun­glasses game

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

VAN­ISH­ING mes­sage ser­vice Snapchat an­nounced over the week­end it will launch a line of video-catch­ing sun­glasses, a spin on Glass eye­wear aban­doned by Google more than a year ago.

The Cal­i­for­nia-based com­pany, which also an­nounced it is chang­ing its name to Snap Inc, said in an on­line post that its Spec­ta­cles will be “avail­able soon”, with me­dia re­ports peg­ging the price at US$130 a pair.

“We’ve been work­ing for the past few years to de­velop a to­tally new type of cam­era,” said the post by Team Snap.

“Spec­ta­cles are sun­glasses with an in­te­grated video cam­era that makes it easy to cre­ate Mem­o­ries.”

Snap ear­lier this year added a way to save images as “Mem­o­ries”, a shift for a ser­vice known for mes­sages that dis­ap­pear af­ter be­ing viewed.

Spec­ta­cles were billed as hav­ing one of the small­est wire­less cam­eras in the world, ca­pa­ble of cap­tur­ing a day’s worth of “Snaps” on a sin­gle charge.

The sun­glasses con­nect to Snap soft­ware wire­lessly us­ing Blue­tooth or Wi-Fi con­nec­tions.

Spec­ta­cles cam­eras take video from the per­spec­tive of wear­ers, boast a 115-de­gree field of view, and cap­ture snip­pets of video in­tended for shar­ing at the ser­vice.

“Imag­ine one of your favourite mem­o­ries,” Snap said.

“What if you could go back and see that mem­ory the way you ex­pe­ri­enced it? That’s why we built Spec­ta­cles.”

Snap es­ti­mates it has more than 100 mil­lion users glob­ally of the ser­vice for send­ing videos, images and text mes­sages which van­ish af­ter be­ing viewed. Some re­ports say it gen­er­ates 10 bil­lion video views per day.

Google in Jan­uary of last year halted sales of its in­ter­net-linked eye­wear Glass, which be­came avail­able in the United States in early 2014.

The tech­nol­ogy ti­tan put the brakes on an “ex­plorer” pro­gram that let peo­ple in­ter­ested in dab­bling with Glass –hotly an­tic­i­pated by some, mocked by oth­ers – buy eye­wear for $1500 apiece.

The Glass test pro­gram was later ex­panded to Bri­tain, but no gen­eral con­sumer ver­sion was re­leased.

Glass con­nected to the in­ter­net us­ing Wi-Fi hot spots or, more typ­i­cally, by be­ing wire­lessly teth­ered to mo­bile phones.

Google Glass had been hit with crit­i­cism due to con­cerns about pri­vacy since the de­vices were ca­pa­ble of cap­tur­ing pic­tures and video.

Spec­ta­cles, ex­pected to be in lim­ited sup­ply when they hit the mar­ket, would put pres­sure on GoPro, whose mini-cam­eras are de­signed to let peo­ple cap­ture video of en­deav­ors from per­sonal per­spec­tives.

GoPro last week un­veiled new Hero5 cam­eras, a drone called Karma and a cloud-based ser­vice for edit­ing and shar­ing video in the hope of lift­ing prof­its, which have been bat­tered by com­pe­ti­tion from all sides.

GoPro be­came an early hit with ex­treme sports en­thu­si­asts who used the mini-cam­eras to film their ex­ploits, and went on to win over teens and young adults in­ter­ested in shar­ing videos on YouTube and so­cial net­works. – WHEN he booked his tour, Swiss lawyer Rafael Studer hadn’t se­ri­ously con­sid­ered the op­tion of jump­ing out of a Rus­sian-made he­li­copter at 2000 me­tres strapped to a North Korean sol­dier.

“It wasn’t re­ally part of the plan,” the 27-year-old ad­mit­ted af­ter land­ing his tan­dem para­chute jump at North Korea’s first avi­a­tion show held in the east­ern port city of Won­san.

The two-day fes­ti­val was part of ef­forts by the sanc­tions-strapped and diplo­mat­i­cally iso­lated coun­try to boost hard-cur­rency tourism in the Won­san re­gion.

Com­ing just weeks af­ter the North con­ducted its fifth nu­clear test, trig­ger­ing global con­dem­na­tion and the threat of fresh sanc­tions, the show drew sev­eral hun­dred for­eign avi­a­tion en­thu­si­asts who paid for brief flights in Soviet-era air­craft.

So it was that Studer found him­self half-hang­ing out the door of a Mil Mi-8 he­li­copter, 2000 me­tres above the newly ren­o­vated and up­graded Won­san air­port, strapped to a North Korean mil­i­tary parachutist.

“There was a ‘what the hell am I do­ing mo­ment’ and then we jumped. Ter­ri­fy­ing at first, but then sur­pris­ingly en­joy­able,” he said.

Studer landed gen­tly, un­like Dutch flight in­struc­tor Niels Linthout, who landed bare­foot – “I lost my flip-flops” – and face down un­der­neath his tan­dem part­ner, much to the amuse­ment of the large crowd.

A num­ber of for­eign pro­fes­sional sky­divers took part in the show, in­clud­ing Amer­i­can Dou­glas Jaques, a 68-year-old vet­eran of more than 11,400 jumps.

The US State Depart­ment strongly ad­vises US cit­i­zens against trav­el­ling to North Korea in any ca­pac­ity, cit­ing a “se­ri­ous risk of ar­rest and long-term de­ten­tion”.

In March this year, Amer­i­can stu­dent Otto Warm­bier was sen­tenced to 15 years hard labour for al­legedly steal­ing a pro­pa­ganda poster from a ho­tel.

Jac­ques said the travel ad­vi­sory had given him “pause for thought” but the prospect of sky­div­ing “in the most ex­otic lo­ca­tion I could think of” had proved too shiny a lure.

“It’s like the warn­ing on a drug la­bel,” he said of the State Depart­ment warn­ing. “They have to cover the worst-case sce­nario.”

Jac­ques and fel­low pro sky­diver Klaus Renz from Ger­many said the equip­ment used by the North Korean parachutists was gen­er­ally high qual­ity.

“The canopy de­signs are copies, but they’re good copies,” said Renz. “They seem very well or­gan­ised.”

Photo: AFP

This un­dated im­age cour­tesy of Snap Inc shows the com­pany’s Spec­ta­cles video-catch­ing sun­glasses.

Photo: AFP

Parachutists per­form an aerial dis­play dur­ing the sec­ond day of the Won­san Friend­ship Air Fes­ti­val in Won­san on Septem­ber 25.

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