When I think back to the launch of Snap, Inc.'s original Spectacles, the sunglasses that could also record video, one of the only memories I have of the launch are all those ridiculously long lines. Snap had the unconventional method of releasing the sunglasses in vending machines, which were installed in random places, but it never took long before hundreds of people gathered trying to buy their own pair of the camera-equipped shades.
Those long lines spelled out plenty of sales for Snap, but not enough when it came down to it. The company had to make a massive write-off for the hardware, and reports indicated that while customers may have lined up to pick up the Spectacles, they didn't use them for very long after they got them. So Snap had to make a decision: Abandon the idea of Spectacles altogether, or try to improve on the original idea.
Snap went with the latter, and now we've got a new pair of Spectacles out there in the world.
The company that built Snapchat isn't launching crazy looking vending machines this time. You can just go over to the Spectacles website and buy a pair right now, if you're willing to fork over $149 to do so. That should probably help with the sales numbers, even if it does remove some of the . . . spectacle of the whole thing.
But what about the changes? The new Spectacles cost $20 more than the original version, which might not sit well with some potential buyers. But the small price hike does at least mean there were some important additions made. First and foremost, the second version of the Spectacles can take photos -- something the original couldn't do. That was one of the more requested features I saw back when the original Spectacles were all the rage.
The new version is also lighter and thinner than the first-generation product. Even the charging case is smaller and lighter, which should help make it more portable. Perhaps best of all, though, is the fact the v2 Spectacles are water resistant. Which means you can take them into the pool or into the ocean and snap a photo or take a video. No more being hindered by the rain, either.
Spectacles always seemed like a crazy idea to me, but one that I could see being the launching pad for more robust augmented reality-based glasses at some point in the future. I actually never saw a pair out in the wild, though. Only one of my friends actually bought a pair, but he lives out in California and by the time I finally went out to see him he was already tired of using it.
Is that going to be a similar situation for Snap this year, with the second version of Spectacles? Where do you stand with the new camera-equipped sunglasses? Are you going to pick up a pair, or is this a product you're going to skip? Let me know!