Snapchat just dropped some huge news - rebranding to Snap Inc. and revealing their first piece of hardware named Spectacles. I'm struggling to understand the point of some sunglasses with a video camera attached to them, but surely it can't be just because I'm not a millennial...
It’s a positive step forward for them - opening the opportunity to expand their portfolio from a simple social app to becoming a “camera company.” With the recent track record of transforming the consumption of captured content, they look to expand this to the creation photography and videography in general - two behaviours that haven't changed in decades (besides the transition from analogue to digital).
Personally, I don’t think the answer to that is Spectacles - but I also understand that could be because of my age.
What are Snapchat’s Spectacles and how do they work?
As I said before, they are simply sunglasses with a video camera attached to them. They wirelessly connect to your Snapchat to make sharing 30-second videos easier than ever, and from an interesting new Go Pro-esque perspective.
I’ve seen a lot of people make comparisons to Google Glass, which are 100% dumbfounded - an ill-informed media attempting to connect it to any technology they know which vaguely resembles glasses. Google’s product was a failed attempt to augment reality around us, whereas Spectacles (by Snap Inc. CEO’s own admission) are a “toy.”
For those with privacy concerns, they have an external light indicator to show others when you’re filming. Of course, this doesn’t take into account whether people modify them or put tape over the light at the very least.
And what about the video format? Will it be taken in vertical or horizontal? Snapchat seems to be in a war with widescreen, so it’s surprising to say they’ve picked both - using circular video to solve this problem easily.
Why don’t I get them?
Hope I’m not the only one who thinks this product is one of the most pointless additions to any gadget arsenal… Am I?
The one potentially transformative jewel within this hardware is the circular video, which if positioned properly could be revolutionary in videography. But when put in a pair of shades, it loses that status.
The launch coming at a time with the little-to-no sun just emphasises the lack of functionality, but then again I am not a millennial. The problem could be with me.
This technology should be in smartphones and (if you really need to do hardware), offer that tiny camera module separately so people can use it as they wish.
And no, I’m not questioning the quality of the hardware - I actually like the design. The camera doesn’t look intrusive and the glasses aren’t overtly nerdy in design - fitting nicely with any fashion trends.
But when it comes to Snap Inc. and their constant push for innovation to ward off the incoming advances of Facebook (e.g. Instagram Stories), hardware is the right way - but not this hardware.
Bring circular video to more people and patent if possible. That’s your moneymaking game changer.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.