Snap Spectacles

24 September 2016

Wall Street Journal:

At a price of $129.99 and with limited distribution, it won’t be relied upon for significant immediate revenue. Spiegel refers to it as a toy, to be worn for kicks at a barbecue or an outdoor concert—Spectacles video syncs wirelessly to a smartphone, making it easily shareable. “We’re going to take a slow approach to rolling them out,” says Spiegel. “It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it.”

Here’s the announcement video. I liked the premise of Google Glass as much as I like the premise of these Spectacles, in that you can interact with a computer that can see the world from the same perspective that you do.

Current technology, though, limits the realisation of this vision in a big way. Smart glasses are too conspicuous and too invasive. I remember something Tim Cook said this on topic in the run-up to Apple Watch; “I wear glasses because I have to”.

This stuff will all catch on once it can be made smaller and integrate into people. The technology needs to get miniaturised so that it can be invisible. Even contact lenses might be too much of a barrier to entry (fiddly to apply, dry out quickly). This is really futuristic stuff but until it is a reality, I think Spiegel is right to characterise the Spectacles as a mere toy.

It’s worth nothing that the company has rebranded and is now called Snap Inc, subsuming Snapchat, Spectacles and whatever else they are working on. They aren’t betting on wearable eyeglasses at all, it’s a stepping stone. They are firmly a camera company now, moving with technology as it evolves.