Snapchat is no more. Long live Snap Inc. Snapchat pulled a double whammy today by announcing both the new name of their company and their first foray in camera hardware with the connected sunglasses they're calling Spectacles.
So, what are Spectacles? Physically, they are large, borderline goofy-looking sunglasses with a small camera built into the frame. The camera sports a 115-degree lens that is intended to give a decent approximation of the standard human field of vision. Spectacles will cost $130, come in one size and three different colors and will be available in limited numbers this fall.
"But what's the point of these Spectacles?" you might ask, and that's a good question. Video is the primary driver behind the creation of Spectacles. Tapping a button on the top left-hand corner starts the camera recording for 10 seconds at a time. You can tap again to add additional recording time, up to 30 seconds in total. You can also press and hold at any time to stop recording. Snaps will store on the glasses until transferred wirelessly to your phone, where they will be available within Memories. Android users will transfer the videos via Wi-Fi, and iOS users will transfer via Bluetooth by default or can import higher resolution snaps via Wi-Fi as well.
Spectacles feature two on-unit lights, one that is outward-facing so that others can see what you are recording and one inward-facing to let the user know when recording is active. Video records in a circle format that actually looks pretty cool and makes sense for a product focused on mobile devices, as you can view it full screen and rotate your device to adjust perspective or view the entire circle to see the full video.
The glasses will come in three different colors: black, teal, and coral, and Snap says that their batteries should last for a day. Each pair of Spectacles comes with a dedicated charging case and cable, and the glasses begin charging as soon as they're placed in the case. A fully charged case will add four additional charges to your Spectacles or roughly a week's worth of usage.
Spectacles are silly, but they also seem rather fun. I don't really like taking my phone out to Snapchat things, but I think some glasses that did it automatically and showed my actual point of view might actually be a product I would use from time to time. While they invoke feelings of the now defunct Google Glass, Spectacles seem far more focused and self-aware, which could lead to their success in the long run.