Snap Inc. has released two new variations of their Spectacles camera-equipped glasses, with the latest styles coming in only black-on-black colors, and with polarized lenses, making them look much more like regular sunglasses.
As explained by Snap:
“Today we’re introducing two new styles of Spectacles: Nico and Veronica. Both combine form and function to create our most fashionable hands-free camera, and can capture up to 70 videos or hundreds of photos on a single charge, then transfer them to your phone, wirelessly. They’re also water resistant, so you can take them with you almost anywhere!”
But while they are stylistically different, the new Spectacles don’t add much in terms of technical adaptation. They do come with a new, slimmer carry case (as opposed to the old triangular yellow one), and as noted above, increase battery capacity, but the other elements remain the same. There are no new camera tools or advanced functions.
That’s always, seemingly, been the limitation of Spectacles. On their release back in 2016, Snap Inc. also rolled out its new ‘Camera Company’ tagline, which seemed to point to Spectacles becoming the new focus, and potentially a new way to utilize Snapchat’s various AR tools. Snap has even filed various patents for glasses that would enable users to layer the app’s AR elements over real-world environments - but thus far, we’ve not seen anything near this.
Sure, having the capacity to take photos and videos on the go is interesting, but it’s far from game-changing, which is what Spectacles initially hinted at being, with Snapchat also releasing its real-world responsive ‘World Lenses’ shortly after the initial Spectacles release.
All the signs pointed to Snap moving towards a next level, fully immersive AR device. But then they didn’t, and with the response to the first iteration of Spectacles being underwhelming, it seemed likely that the device was done. Until Snap released Spectacles version 2.0 back in April.
And while the new version only offered relatively minor improvements, Snap says that people are using Spectacles v2.0 more – according to TechCrunch, v2 owners are capturing 40% more Snaps than users with v1s.
So that’s good, right? More people are using Spectacles version 2.0 more often, and these new, more stylish variations should make them even more popular. Good news for Snap all round. Right?
Really, it seems like a minor update, a small shift that’s unlikely to re-awaken the seemingly stalled growth and development of the company.
That’s not to say Snap’s done – far from it, many reports still show Snapchat has maintained, and even grown, its lead over Facebook and Instagram in teen usage, despite the growth of Instagram Stories. But Spectacles still remains an anomaly – a largely underwhelming element which maybe hints at something more, yet, has failed to deliver.
Maybe there’s more to Spectacles yet, but this new announcement doesn’t point to anything more at this stage.
Users in the US and Europe can purchase the new version of Spectacles from today for $199. They’ll also be sold in Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom later this year.