Snapchat has launched a Google Glass-GoPro hybrid pair of sunglasses.
These sunglasses cost a fraction of the cost of Google Glass, however. The idea is you'd use them in order to capture your adventures while on the go. It's like a GoPro, but for you face. Here's everything you need to know about Snapchat's first big dive into hardware.
What are Snapchat Spectacles?
In October 2016, Snapchat announced a pair of connected sunglasses called Snapchat Spectacles. They can record video snippets that automatically save to your Snapchat Memories, a new feature in Snapchat that stores all your saved snaps, stories, and locked content. The sunglasses feature a camera with a 115-degree lens, with the purpose of mimicking how humans actually see.
How do Snapchat Spectacles work?
To record a snap (picture or video), you'll tap a button the top left-hand corner of the sunglasses. It will automatically stop recording after 10 seconds, but you can tap again to add another 10-second increment (you can record up to 30 seconds at a time). You'll see a inward-facing light when you're snapping, while an outward facing-light to show others when you're recording and they're in your field of view.
Snapchat Spectacles work with Android and iOS devices. If you own an Android, you can transfer your snaps over Wi-Fi, but if you have an iPhone, they'll transfer either via the sunglasses' Bluetooth connection or Wi-Fi. Keep in mind you can use the sunglasses as a standalone device (they'll store the snaps until you have access to your phone). To playback your snaps, you'll need to use the Snapchat app for Android or iOS.
When watching your snaps recorded with Snapchat Sunglasses, you'll notice a new "circular" format that is meant to display your footage the way the human eye sees, though you'll watch them cropped in either landscape or orientation.
We don't yet know the image quality of the recorded snaps or whether they will be weatherproof.
How long will Snapchat Spectacles' battery last?
Snapchat said Snapchat Spectacles' batteries will last about a day, and the outward-facing light on the sunglasses will serve as a battery indicator that you can double tap on to see how much life they have left. To charge the sunglasses, simply use the charging case and cable that it comes with (the case can actually juice up Spectacles up to four times once fully charged).
How much do Snapchat Spectacles cost?
The glasses cost $129.99 (roughly £100), come in one size, and are available in three colours: black, teal, and coral.
When will Snapchat Spectacles be available?
Snapchat said it is only making a "limited number" of Snapchat Spectacles. When CEO Evan Spiegel introduced them, he said the glasses would be available in autumn 2016, and that Snapchat planned to take "a slow approach" when it comes to rolling them out. Starting 10 November, Snapchat revealed how you’d be able to buy them from yellow vending machines called Snapbots. They will travel around the US selling the device.
Where can you find Snapbots?
Starting with one located by Snap's headquarters in California, each Snapbot will be in place for about a day. Snapchatters can track Snapbots using a map on the Spectacles website. Snapchat Spectacles can only be purchased from Snapbots, making the vending machines also a lot like pop-up stores. During a demo on Ellen Degeneres' show, we could see that Snapbots use a built-in camera to to let you virtually try on Spectacles before buying.
You can also go to the Snapchat Spectacles website to scan a QR code and add a Spectacles lens to Snapchat in order to try them on virtually.
UPDATE: Spectacles are also showing up on eBay with price tags of up to $900.
Is this Snapchat's first hardware product?
Not technically. The company has developed merchandise in the past, such as a plushie, deck of cards, backpack, ice cube tray, and more.
What is Snapchat?
Snapchat began in 2011. It's a popular photo-sharing app that allows you to send pictures and videos - both of which will self destruct after a few seconds of a person viewing them - to friends. Snapchat is also a fun messaging app. When you take a picture or video with the app, you can add a caption or doodle or lens over top, and then send the finished result to a friend along with a chat message.
Alternatively, you can add it to your "story", a 24-hour collection of your photos and videos (also called snaps), which you broadcast to the world or just your followers. If you don't feel like sharing your picture or video with anyone, you could just save it to Memories, a new feature in Snapchat that stores all your saved snaps, stories, and locked content. It also shows your phone's camera roll.
Snapchatters were sending about 700 million snaps a day as of May 2014.
What is Snap?
In October 2016, Snapchat announced that its company would now be known as Snap. It also described Snap as a "camera company" rather than a mobile app developer. In a blog post, Evan Spiegel, Snapchat's CEO and cofounder, said Snapchat is evolving into Snap because Snap offers more than just Snapchat (ie, Snapchat Spectacles), and it wanted to better distinguish product information from company information.
In other words, Snapchat the mobile app will remain Snapchat, while Snapchat the company will be called Snap going forward.
Want to know more?
Check out Pocket-lint's Snapchat hub for related news.