Snap, the company behind the popular Snapchat app, has announced a new pair of smart glasses which are - even just looking at the basic details - a far better attempt at creating some smart glasses.
Called Spectacles, they're the second version of a product that Snap Inc first revealed in 2016. They enabled Snapchat users to capture circular photos and videos (called snaps) that could later be uploaded to the Snapchat app when your phone is nearby.
They seemed popular at first, but then, something happened... And, well, have you ever actually seen someone wearing a pair?
It's clear that the original Spectacles didn't sell in the quantity that Snap wanted, so it went back to the drawing board - check out this introductory video and see what's new in the 2018 version of Spectacles below.
New Snap Spectacles 2018: Price and release date
New Spectacles are available in the UK from today priced £149.99.
Spectacles are also available from today in the US for $149.99, Canada and France and will be available for purchase on Spectacles.com in Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Spain and Italy on Thursday 3 May.
New Snap Spectacles 2018: What's new
The new Spectacles are water resistant and boast superior image and video quality. They now take photos as well as videos, and all Snaps now transfer in HD only via Wi-Fi.
Snaps also appear in Memories four times faster thanks to improved transfer speed (videos now transfer in about three seconds as opposed to nine seconds with the original specs). Spectacles will also tranfer Snaps automatically when you get home.
You can press and hold to capture a photo Snap or tap to capture up to 30 seconds of continuous video. New dual microphones now capture clearer, higher quality sound, reducing wind noise and balancing the conversations in your Snaps. Spectacles can store up to 150 videos or 3,000 photos at a time.
Spectacles are now water resistant, so you can take a photo or video in shallow water (note they are will not withstand diving in or prolonged time under the surface).
Snap has further miniaturised the electronics so Spectacles are sleeker and more lightweight. The temple area of the frame, which houses the bulk of the electronics, is about a third smaller and the charging case is around 20 percent smaller as a result.
There are also three new colours: onyx, ruby, and sapphire. You can now choose between two lens shades for each colour.
New Snap Spectacles 2018: Why bother?
Snap Inc's first attempt at Spectacles didn't do that well. So why does it feel that it's worth doing a second version? Snapchat calls itself "the most used camera in the world" even though it is, of course, not a camera itself.
Today nearly all of the 3.5 billion Snaps captured every day on Snapchat are taken on a phone but Snap believes "that will not always be the case". Snap wants to to have "the most used camera in the world long-term, even as camera devices evolve". So there you have it - Snap is looking beyond a time when we won't need to use a device to specifically take a picture.
Over 187 million people use Snapchat every day including 60 million in Europe. Over 60% of daily users create Snaps with the Camera every day.
Snapchatters share 250 million Snaps every day
Snap Spectacles 2016 vs Snap Spectacles 2018: What's actually changed?
Snap Spectacles 2016 (Version 1)
- Colours: Black, Coral, Teal
- Not water resistant
- 1088 x 1088 HD video resolution (standard transfer was in SD).
- No photo capture
- Single microphone recording
Snap Spectacles 2018 (Version 2)
- Colours: Ruby, Onyx, Sapphire
- Two lens choices per colour
- Water resistance
- 1216 x 1216 HD video resolution
- 1642 x 1642 HD photo resolution
- Componentry over one third smaller
- Dual microphone recording
- Charging case 20% smaller
- Transfer to Memories 4x faster
New Snap Spectacles 2018: How to pair
To pair Spectacles open Snapchat and go to your profile. Open settings and select “Spectacles”. Follow on screen instructions and press and hold for 7 seconds. Now Snaps taken on these Specs will transfer to this specific Snapchat account.
Spectacles feature both outward facing and inward-facing lights. The outward-facing lights tell people that Specs are recording. The inward-facing light indicates to the person wearing Specs they are recording. This light blinks when there are two seconds of recording time remaining.
New Snap Spectacles 2018: What were the pre-launch rumours?
The main clue we had about the existence of new Snap Specs was in documents recently published by the FCC. They revealed a new “wearable video camera” made by Snap. The device has "Spectacles" branding and "Model 002” on its packing label. These documents seems to prove the existence of new Spectacles capable of faster file transfers.
According to the filing, Snap's unannounced device supports for 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 (BLE). Keep in mind, in March 2017, Cheddar claimed Snap was developing two new Spectacles, and at least one version could feature two lenses and more advanced camera technology. Snap is supposedly also talking to major glasses companies.
It's been in discussions with Luxottica and Warby Parker - all in an effort to license its camera technology. Cheddar also mentioned that Snap quietly acquired imaging company FiveFocal.
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