Multimedia mobile social media app company Snapchat announced yesterday that they have launched a product called “Sunglasses”, which is essentially a pair of shades with video recording functionality built into it. The product retails for $130 and can record up to 10 seconds of video at a time.
The device can be wirelessly synced to your iPhone, and you can share your short video clips with your Snapchat contacts. The device sports a camera that can capture a 115-degree angle view that is wider than what you see on smartphones. Simply tap the small button near the hinge of the Spectacle’s temple (the part that goes over your ear) and the video will start recording.
Snapchat co-founder and SEO Evan Spiegel calls it a “toy”, but we see some very useful applications, such as if you’re ever attacked by someone or you witness a crime in progress – or you simply want to capture an amazing scene when you’re traveling. The 10-second limit might seem a little low but this is just the beginning and Snapchat is only doing a limited distribution at this point, as Google did with its Google Glasses.
Spiegel seems very excited about the product and its potential, but is wary of being too optimistic about its applications. At this point, he says he just wants to “figure out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it.”
Snapchat has recently changed its avatar and is now rebranded as Snap, Inc. The company aims to be more than just a mobile app company now that they’re into hardware as well. And this is significant to Spiegel because controlling – or even being a part of – the hardware market for videos and photos can have a huge positive impact on the company.
Spectacles has actually been in development for several years, it’s been tested for about a year by Spiegel himself. The videos are rendered in a circular format instead of the traditional rectangular form. Spiegel says that the older format is actually a vestige of printing photos on to paper. A rectangular format is more suitable in those cases, and easier in terms of layout.
But the real thrill of the Spectacles experience, says 26-year-old Spiegel, comes from the perspective that the video gives when you watch it later. Spiegel related the experience that he had after a 2015 trip with his supermodel fiancee Miranda Kerr:
“It was our first vacation, and we went to Big Sur for a day or two. We were walking through the woods, stepping over logs, looking up at the beautiful trees. And when I got the footage back and watched it, I could see my own memory, through my own eyes—it was unbelievable. It’s one thing to see images of an experience you had, but it’s another thing to have an experience of the experience. It was the closest I’d ever come to feeling like I was there again.”
This is definitely a unique perspective to a not-so-minor innovation. Re-living the experience has always been a key aim of photography and videography, and Spectacles could well be the first in a long line of wearable tech for video capture. We’ve had it for a long time with gadgets like spy pens and so on, but this Spectacles definitely puts a new twist on the word “spectacular.”
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