a Venice, Calif.-based startup that’s behind the popular ephemeral messaging app Snapchat.
Spectacles, as the company calls them, are a set of sunglasses that feature a built-in camera capable of recording 10-second snippets of video which go on sale this fall which is a lot sooner than anyone expected.
This is the company’s first venture into the hardware market which is why Snapchat has now re-branded itself as Snap, Inc. showing that the company will now offer more than just its flagship photo sharing app.
The device features a single button which users can tap to start recording a video and uses an 115 wide angle lens that is closer to the user’s natural field of vision, capable of recording a much wider video compared to a typical smartphone.
Spectacles record a circular video which the company argues is more natural as compared to the typical rectangular format employed by every other device. In addition to this the device makes is possible to take part in the environment the user is in as unlike a smartphone it doesn’t require the device to be held up with a hand while recording.
“It was our first vacation, and we went to Big Sur for a day or two. We were walking through the woods, stepping over logs, looking up at the beautiful trees. And when I got the footage back and watched it, I could see my own memory, through my own eyes—it was unbelievable,” CEO Evan Spiegel said while recollecting his experience of a prototype he used in early 2015 while hiking with his fiancée, supermodel Miranda Kerr.
“It’s one thing to see images of an experience you had, but it’s another thing to have an experience of the experience. It was the closest I’d ever come to feeling like I was there again.”
The company plans to roll out its new hardware in small numbers as confirmed by its CEO “We’re going to take a slow approach to rolling them out. It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it.”
This suggests that the company doesn’t plan on making a huge profit from its latest offering also considering that fact that it is priced at $129.99. The company is also marketing it as a toy to be worn for kicks at a barbeque or an outdoor concert.