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Home / Tips and Tricks / This is how Snaps not scary, fashionable eyewear wearable camera proves that we are ready for mainstream AR Smartglasses «Next Reality

This is how Snaps not scary, fashionable eyewear wearable camera proves that we are ready for mainstream AR Smartglasses «Next Reality

2018 was a tough year for Snap, the company behind the Snapchat app and the Spectacles portable camera camera device. From executive executions to reports of slower user growth, the company that once spurned billions of dollars of Facebook advances stands a moment of truth as it faces its uncertain future.

At least part of this future, says founder and CEO Evan Spiegel, is committed to augmented reality. When rumors surfaced that Snap would be releasing an AR version of his Spectacles at the end of 2018, there was some hope that the company could end the year with a forward-looking note instead of continuing to struggle through uncertainty.

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Well, this release never happened. This gives us the perfect opportunity to find out what exactly the latest version of Spectacles offers and what it can mean for a future where Snap is one of the few AR Smart glasses on the market aimed at mainstream users.

I have a pair of the latest version of Spectacles, the Nico model. The device looks like a chic, fashionable pair of super-powered Ray-Bans without the yellow circles highlighting the side-mounted camera and indicator light, and without the now recognizable Elton John hitting the Lady Gaga circle. In short, the Nico version of Spectacles (released with the Veronica model) is usually indistinguishable from regular sunglasses unless you look closely.

Escape the Glasshole

Because the current version of Spectacles does not do this Because I can view AR content at all levels, I was particularly interested in how the public would respond to a person who "does not wearing very smart glasses and can take them at any time. The reason why this is important before we even come to ubiquitous, truly intelligent AR glasses is illustrated by the saga of Google Glass .

Aside from Borg Star Trek who gave the nickname "Glass Holes" to those who spent $ 1,500 on wearing the device in public, it quickly became clear that people did not like the feeling that they were seen and recorded with the "scary" device.

Image via Google Glass

I've always been a bit confused by this special thread of the Google Glass story. Of course, when Glass was first in the sun in 2013, smartphones with cameras had become the norm in the process, but there were still a large number of people accustomed to being photographed become a stranger's smartphone in public. So, what about glass that was supposed to be so scary? I think it was because it just looked too technical. To geeky, if you will.

When I imagine a sci-fi spy movie where a supervillain has tied me to a medical table in his hiding place and says he'll extract my memories by shining a laser into my eyeball. I would not be shocked if he leaned over my fighting body and looked down on something that looked very similar to Google Glass. The aesthetic aesthetics of the device make you feel like being under a microscope, even if you are standing in a public place only 3 meters away.

When you wear the Nico version of Spectacles in public, you do not feel like you're helping Snap to experiment with its business model. No, these are really cool shades.

This is the hurdle that glasses need in order to be clear in order to be accepted. However, unlike Glass, the initial purpose of Spectacles was much simpler: Allow users to capture short videos on a portable device and then share them on Snapchat.

When Spectacles were released for the first time in 2016 (back when Snapchat was a first) a bit more popular, literally masses were formed to buy the device as soon as the company opened a new Spectacles kiosk (or Snapbot) site announced. I'll never forget driving home from home in Manhattan before Christmas when I snaked a row around a midtown block as countless Snapchat fans line up at 30 ° C in the dark, around the $ 130 Device to get in the hands. 19659002] Unfortunately, the initial hype and excitement were not translated into actual sales – which explains why I did not see many pairs of the original Spectacles on the streets of New York, LA or San Francisco. According to the company, only about 220,000 were sold, which the company had to write off almost $ 40 million due to unsold stocks.

Invisible Relaunch

Snap made another attempt in 2018 with the release of a newer version. Glasses 2, which retained the same shape, had a thinner body, but did not use the yellow ring around the camera. For $ 150 and water resistance, faster video transfers, and the ability to take photos and videos, the device (called the 1945B-CNBC "stupid") on the roads is not exactly a common sight.

Street Cred Test

After Wearing the Nico for Weeks on Busy Streets in New York At meetings and in cafes, I had few occasions when someone took a double shot and either looked at my glasses with special interest or asked me "What are these?" After he had recognized the camera body in the frame. 19659002] "Everyone noticed, but everyone was just polite," you could say. That's possible, but on the other hand, I wore the glasses in New York City, a place where it's not uncommon for a stranger to approach you and criticize your look Project Runway . Trust me; Most people did not realize it. What surprised me: Does Snap break the social contract that the glass fiasco implied that we should stick to it? That is, if you wear glasses, people should know it. Do not be deceitful. Right?

Refocusing Spectacles

After realizing how this non-Snapchat workflow was simple, he was stunned why more people did not wear and use it , And if I look at the full Snap business image and the current wearables market, I have a few answers.


When you last saw a billboard, web advertising, TV commercial, celebrities, Tweet, Instagram post or other marketing, this is the new fashion spy version from Snap promotes? I'm not saying that they do not exist, but if, then I did not see them. If you build it, it will come, it is not a great strategy at a time when our attention is being directed in more directions than ever before.

Apple is Probably the Only Tech Company That Can afford to Post a Product No aggressive advertising, yet Apple is still one of Tech's biggest and most innovative marketers. Remember that the Apple Watch launched a multi-page spread in Vogue . By far the most common comment I get from people is when they ask me about the Nico Spectacles: "Wow, I did not know they had them."


In general, $ 200 for most mid-market consumers is not an exceptional price for shadows in the US. Typically, this price tag includes a brand / logo that the wearer is either familiar with or loyal to. Snap should have branded Nico and Veronica together with an existing brand such as Ray-Ban, Gucci or Persol. The combination with an existing player in the shadow area would have greatly enhanced the presence of Snap's latest Spectacles models.

If you can buy camera glasses on Amazon for $ 50, you really sell style and brand quality markup. However, selling the audience via Snaps Mode Pedigree could, at least initially, benefit from an established fashion designer.

If Snap can address these issues, it may have something akin to a popular product.

AR Future?

The apparent lack of attention paid to the aforementioned areas could be a result of the company's rapidly changing leadership team, making it difficult to focus on a unique vision for each product. Or it could mean that Snape's AR version of Spectacles is closer to the market than we think, and the company just wanted to bring out the pure camera versions quickly before the actual fun begins.

Cover Picture via Snap

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