Back in September, Snapchat introduced a set of eyewear called Spectacles that would take video to a new level. Following in the failed attempt of Google Glass, Snapchat’s take on glasses bring its own quirky features and possibly some of the same problems.
To introduce Spectacles to the masses, Snapchat uses an interesting way to sell its first hardware product: vending machines. Earlier this morning, a Bot Landing video was released introducing the yellow Minion-like machines that are going to sell the Spectacles throughout the country. Today is the first day Spectacles are on sale, but only one vending machine is selling them in Venice, California.
Long lines be damned, we made our way to Venice to get our hands on the glasses and even though it looked bleak at times, we succeeded. And I have to say, these glasses are pretty sweet.
They’re dead simple in their design. Nothing too flashy, but they are unmistakably Spectacles. It’s just a pair of glasses with two round visors in the front and a button that you press to begin recording 10-second videos are uploaded directly to your Snapchat account.
The two round visors give it its main design characteristic, one is a camera and the other is spinning light that lets you know it’s recording. It comes with a magnetic charger that charges both the Spectacles and the case, which is an external battery that can charge the glasses when you put them away.
Pairing them to your phone is easy as well. Just turn on the Bluetooth on your phone, go to the Snapchat code for your account and press the button on the Spectacles and voila, they’re paired.
The Spectacles are for capturing video, not consuming information like Google Glass. It’s the key difference between the two. The slight distinction might be enough to avoid the privacy clash that doomed Glass, but we won’t know until they infiltrate the market in bigger volumes. Spectacle still captures video and many will still see it as an invasion of privacy.
Spectacles will run you $130 and come in three colors: black, teal and coral. The buzz surrounding the launch of them was quite electrifying. The long lines ranged in the hundreds and it most certainly helped launch what will be an interesting retail practice for Snapchat.
Only time will tell if these catch on in a way Google Glass never did, but for the time being, it’s riding a big wave of momentum. After all, Spectacles are $130 while Glass came in at $1,500, which essentially eliminated most casual consumers right away.
Snapchat’s first attempt at hardware is likely specifically aimed at Snapchat aficionados, with a few outliers joining in on the hype.