Snapchat releases first hardware product – Spectacles

Snapchat has officially released Spectacles, its highly anticipated “toy”, so named by Evan Speigel, CEO of renamed Snap Inc. What is Spectacles, you may ask? The product is exactly what the name would suggest. But, when you slip them on and tap a button near the hinge, it records up to 10 seconds of video from your first-person vantage. Each new tap records another clip, and it’s connected wirelessly to your smartphone, making it easily shareable. Why use a pair of video sunglasses—available this fall, by the way, one-size-fits-all in black, teal or coral—instead of holding up your smartphone like everyone else? Because, Spiegel says, the images that result are fundamentally different. Spectacles’ camera uses a 115-degree-angle lens, wider than a typical smartphone’s and much closer to the eyes’ natural field of view. The video it records is circular, more like human vision. (Spiegel argues that rectangles are an unnecessary vestige of printing photos on sheets of paper.) As you record, your hands are free to pet dogs, hug babies or flail around at a concert. You can reach your arms out to people you’re filming, instead of holding your phone up, as Spiegel describes it, “like a wall in front of your face.” With the risks that have inherently come with this kind of tech release, you might wonder, why now? In the words of Speigel – “because it’s fun.” And because it echoes Google Glass, but with a sense of purpose, it could be a lot of very successful fun, for people and brands alike. Read more on WSJ.