Snapchat puts the fun back in wearable tech

Snapchat Spectacles

We’ve seen it all before with the hype surrounding Google Glass, and its subsequent demise, but has Snapchat just come up with an alternative?

Last week saw a sneak preview of Snapchat’s brand new wearable. For this purpose the mobile app company changed its name from Snapchat to Snap to accommodate their foray into hardware. Their very popular mobile app retains its name, Snapchat, while their new hardware is called Spectacles. With the glasses, much like within the Snapchat app, users can take pictures and videos of themselves, and paste silly stickers over it. It’s basically trendy sunglasses with a built-in camera.

In short, Snapchat is a mobile image messaging app where its users send each other video or photo messages which self-destruct within 10 seconds of viewing. You can also create a ‘story’ which stays on your profile for 24 hours and is viewable by your friends and followers. Ever since its inception Snapchat has taken off in a big way and is extremely popular with teenagers who claim it is way cooler than Facebook (and perhaps a means to get away from their parents’ prying eyes). To date Snapchat has amassed 100 million users, mostly under the age of 35.

Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap, insists that their new wearable is not to be compared with Google Glass or meant to be some sort of tech-savvy futuristic piece of kit with a multitude of uses. Instead it is simply meant to be light-hearted and fun. It is clear from its fashion-forward design that Spectacles was planned around the concept of having fun. The trendy design and variety of eye-popping colours might make it less popular with the geek squad, who tend to prefer function over looks.

Snap claims that Spectacles has the world’s smallest wireless camera with great battery life to boot. The camera has a 115-degree-angle lens, so it’s very similar how a person would naturally view the world. Another clever feature is the circular video clips, which will allow you to watch it in any orientation on your mobile device. You can shoot short, 30-second videos with the glasses but don’t fear secretly being recorded (as was the case with Google Glass). A blinking light on the front of the glasses indicate that you are filming, a feature that is welcomed by many. The sunglasses are also hands-free, wireless, and can transfer video and images directly to your Snapchat app.

Snap’s Spectacles is definitely aimed at their masses of young and trendy followers, and seems like it might just take off in a big way. Priced at around US$130 (a fraction of what Google Glass retailed at) it certainly is a more affordable piece of wearable tech. Some compare it to GoPro, the American tech company specialising in self-shooting action cameras, software and apps. But where GoPro is aimed at the extreme sports market, again, Snap’s Spectacle is more of a laze-around wearable aimed to show off with your friends while goofing around at the skate park, or alternatively, in the front row at fashion shows. The options are endless.

Sadly for those of you already eager to get your hands on a pair, Snap has decided to introduce it slowly into the mass market. Spiegel noted, “It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it.” If the popularity of Snapchat is anything to go by, Spectacles could well be the next big thing for trendophiles.