THE LEGENDARY: Are Snapchat Spectacles the next big thing or just a fad?
This past summer was a very interesting summer in the world of tech. VR headsets began to boom, more companies starting to make wearable technology, smart home technologies beginning to thrive, Samsung Galaxy Note 7 blowing up (haha), and so forth. But also in the midst of all this, Snap, Inc. emerged. Snap, Inc. is now the parent company of Snapchat just as Alphabet is the parent company of Google.
It’s clear that Snap, Inc. formed so that they could differentiate Snapchat from other technologies that they are developing. Underneath the emergence of Snap, Inc. came a new wearable technology they had been developing similar to Google Glass called Snapchat Spectacles. Google Glass was actually a version of augmented reality (AR), where as the user is still in the real world, but the glasses have a transparent overlay. The augmented reality of the Spectacles comes from being able to record a 10-second footage of the real world with the glasses on but they do not display a transparent overlay for interaction purposes as the Google Glass does.
The Spectacles are definitely a one-of-a kind experience. They are $130 and come in three colors; black, teal, and coral. They work in first-person through the eyes of the user, not to mention they look kinda stylish as well. would appear randomly throughout the country in these vending machines called “Snapbots”. No one ever knows where they will land, and the Snapbots are only in select locations for a very limited time. So if you don’t get to them while they are there, they you have missed your chance to get a pair. Everywhere the snapbots have landed there has always been a HUGE announcement, and people would literally wait in line all day to get a pair. The lines are always so long. They have even had to put restrictions on quantity of spectacles sold to ensure that everyone in line could get a pair, everyone can only buy one pair per person.
The cool thing about them…
The Spectacles record through a 115-degree-angle lens similar to the human eye, so it appears in first-person. The user simply presses the button atop the Spectacles, they will begin recording 10-second clips. A white light will turn on in front of the frames to notify that they are recording (also, so others will notice you trying to record them without them noticing). You don’t have to be holding your phone to get cool action shots anymore with the Spectacles. Once the recording is complete, the video is uploaded to the ‘memories’ section of your Snapchat app. Once it is uploaded to memories, you can edit it before it is shared to your Snapchat story. Users can also tap the button atop the frames three times to record up to three 10-second videos in a row. They can even be used as a standalone device without the use of a smartphone. If the user does not have their smartphone with them at the time, the video(s) can be stored and transferred to the smartphone later. They also come with a charging case that can charge the frames up to four times. Battery life of the Spectacles usually lasts for a day of casual use or about 16 minutes of video.
The Spectacles made their premier late summer 2016. For a couple months, it made the biggest headlines when the snapbots arrived. But what has happened with them since then? These frames are pretty pricey. For the price you pay for these shades, they should still be in discussions. The Spectacles should be the thing to get; the thing that all teenagers go to the mall for. But they’re not, and that’s why the Spectacles may just be a fad. Fads are usually hot for a quick minute just because it’s trendy, it’s the latest thing out, it’s gimmicky, everyone gets it, uses it for a little while, and then get bored of it and move on to the next trend. And that’s exactly what the Spectacles did. But that may change. Snap, Inc. just has to do a better job producing and marketing their product.
Production could be better by simply pushing out more Spectacles so that they can be sold in certain retail stores rather than only being sold in one snapbot at a time. This multi-billion dollar company can certainly afford to do that. The could even partner with retail giants like Macy’s and Wal-Mart to push their product. Yes, it stirs excitement, curiosity, and rises demand when there are only so may available. But since they have not been constantly placing snapbots around the world, but instead announcing them rarely, the demand has fallen. Snap, Inc. should release a list of all cities where customers can expect the snapbots to be places along with their times, dates, and their longevities on their website and make it accessible on Snapchat.
Promotion is most important in order to keep the Spectacles afloat. Snap, Inc. should be advertising this product on other social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr. I don’t believe Snapchat would advertise on Facebook and Instagram since they are Snapchat’s top competitors and Instagram has adopted very similar features (Snapchat does not have accounts on Facebook nor Instagram). They should hire Spectacles reps who are trained on using the Spectacles that are out and about in the towns with t-shirts and fun stuff like free food, music, Snapchat games, etc. They should the at big events like conventions, expos, sporting events, and concerts informing the people about these cool new shades that can be used to post first-person footage to Snapchat. I don’t think they thought this all the way through before releasing it. I think that Spectacles are cool and they look cool, but they won’t last very long if they are not made available and if it is not marketed well enough. It will be the fad that will forget about within a year.