New Spectacles by Snap Released After $40 Million Loss on Previous Model
Snap has released the next generation of their Spectacles, a wearable camera in the form of sunglasses that gives users the ability to take photos and videos all from a hands-free first-person point-of-view. The sunglasses will have the same form factor as the first-generation model, though they have been slightly reduced in size. They will come in three colors: onyx, ruby, and sapphire, and will be available for purchase for $150 via Snap’s website.
This move by Snap is strange, considering the previous model of Spectacles was only purchased by 0.08 percent of users. In fact, the investment into manufacturing the first-generation of Spectacles resulted in the company having to write off nearly $40 million in merchandise and laying off over a dozen people. However, Snap reported that they were able to reuse parts of the unsold inventory of their previous generation Spectacles in order to cut cost.
According to data collected by Snapchat, customers that purchased the Spectacles didn’t use them for very long. Business Insider reported that less than half of users who purchased the Spectacles used them for less than a month. Though Snapchat hailed them as the future of interacting with the app, it fell short of their goal, with the model seen more as a novelty for a short period of time.
When designing the second-generation Spectacles, Snap tapped customers for feedback on how they could improve all aspects of the sunglasses. According to The Verge, Snap focused on three major improvements that they felt needed to be present in this new model.
One of the main complaints from customers and employees alike was that the first-generation model was too bulky, with many saying it wouldn’t fit easily in your pocket or hanging from your shirt. The new models are significantly slimmer, and the side cameras now blend in with the color of the glasses, a change from the glaring yellow ring on the previous model.
Snap also wanted to focus on improving the download speeds when transferring media from the glasses to your phone. They have achieved speeds around three to four times faster, a sharp improvement from the previous model. However, the Spectacles still lack the option of directly uploading to your phone’s camera roll or any other photo app.
This new model will also have water resistance, thought the description of the glasses say this only applies for rainy days or “shallow water”. Despite this, users may want to be wary of bringing these fairly expensive sunglasses anywhere near the water.
While it’s still too early to tell how well the second model of Spectacles will, there are already reports of newer $300 model in the works. The newer model will have more advanced cameras, which will allow users to create three-dimensional depth effects when taking photos or shooting video. According to CEO Evan Spiegel, the company will continue to develop software and hardware for their Spectacles, in the hopes that they will eventually become the defining product of Snap.