Wearable technology is the next big thing, haven’t you heard? Ok, maybe Google Glass didn’t quite take off. And alright, perhaps the Apple watch is just too expensive for most of us. But wearable technology is still being perfected every day and new and better products are constantly being introduced to the market. Enter Snapchat Spectacles, a potential game changer.
Snapchat, the app loved by millennials is definitely having its moment. Over 100 million people use Snapchat every day to send brief glimpses of their daily lives to friends, family or curious strangers. For a while it seemed as though nothing could touch Snapchat, as it is so vastly different from the majority of social media networks that are popular at the moment. In Snapchat there is no news feed, no lasting images, no way of stumbling across other accounts. The whole format of Snapchat is entirely different from other networks…that was until Instagram decided to introduce a stories feature.
The stories feature on Instagram has meant a question mark has begun to form over the Snapchat app. Why stick to Snapchat when you can do the same thing on Instagram and reach a solid base of users that you have already built up? While those loyal to Snapchat are likely to stick with it, this may deter potential new consumers from moving over. As yet it is too early to tell, but what has come of Instagram’s decision is an unprecedented move from Snapchat.
In September, Snapchat (or Snap Inc. as the company is now called) announced that they would be releasing a new piece of wearable technology called Spectacles. These will be sunglasses with built in cameras able to record up to 30 seconds of footage that will publish straight to your Snapchat stories. The Spectacles’ camera uses 115-degree angle lens and records circular videos in order to mimic human vision.
This is a huge step forward in wearable technology. Why? Well, for a start the price point of Snapchat Spectacles is almost affordable – at $129.99 these are a potential Christmas present item, rather than a one-in-a-lifetime item for a lucky few. The cheapest alternative on the market is most likely to be a GoPro, which, at $199, is still classed as a luxury item.
The style of the glasses themselves is a drastic step away from the smart, professional aesthetic of the Google Glass, the Spectacles are quirky and fashionable in three colours (black, teal and coral), two of which are outright bright. Snapchat is almost certainly playing right into its core consumers – millennials.
So what makes the Spectacles so alluring? The main focus has so far been on the way that it captures video. The aim appears to be to allow the wearer to capture the essence of their life without any interference. So what you record is exactly what you experience, with as much likeness as possible to actual human vision. This is the closest we can get to recreating memories as they happen – a key part of Snapchat’s mission.
So far Snap Inc. has only said that a limited number of Spectacles will be released, as they want to introduce the technology slowly to ensure a quality product. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a pair, then the way that you use them is by tapping a button in the left hand corner to start an automatic 10 second recording. You will be able to see a light on the inside of the glasses while you are recording and those you are snapping will also be able to see a light. The recording will then automatically transfer to your IOS device via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth (or can be transferred at a later stage if you aren’t near your phone or own an Android device). The actual quality of the footage is yet to be seen, but it is expected to mimic the Snapchat app in that sense.
The battery life of the Spectacles is expected to be about a day, with a light doubling as a battery indicator. It will come with its own charging case and cable, making it pretty easy to charge on the move.
You might wonder what else separates the Spectacles from Google Glass, and what (aside from price) will make them more popular. For one thing the Spectacles indicate when they are recording, which takes away some of the creepy factor that came across with Google Glass – similarly anything that is recorded without your knowing will eventually self-destruct like all regular Snaps. But, more than anything the Spectacles are simply fun and have managed to perfect just one thing, rather than trying to do it all. Snap Inc. knows exactly what their consumers like and has just made it easier for them. They saw the success of GoPro and made something like it that will be certain to appeal to their biggest user base.
As I said earlier, wearables are the hottest thing in tech right now. From Fitbits to the Apple watch, everybody wants something that makes their life slightly easier, and slightly more futuristic. This step towards making wearables that are affordable and targeted directly at the younger generation is a huge shift forward. Ever since YouTube became immensely popular the ‘video’ and the way that we consume moving image has been getting more inventive. This announcement from Snap Inc. has created a whole new interest and excitement about what the future might hold for wearable technology and sharing video and we can’t wait to see what will unfold once they are released.