Hold on to your childhood dreams of filming your own movie because Snap, Inc. (formerly SnapChat) just launched a new camera that might make that dream a reality. Snap, Inc. announced the launch of their “Spectacles,” a new set of glasses that will record video like Snapchat, just this weekend when they changed their company name to Snap, Inc.
When released, Spectacles will function as a pair of sunglasses that record 10 seconds of video from the wearer’s point of view. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Snap’s CEO Evan Spiegel revealed that the glasses will film at a width of 115-degrees and in a circular frame – meant to mimic natural human sight. Spiegel believes that rectangular photographs are only necessary when printing on actual paper; in the digital world his company is pushing for something new.
In production and marketing, Snap, Inc. has focused on generating new ideas that will distinguish Spectacles from other digital glasses. Google Glass crashed and burned before anyone could really decide what to do with them. That’s not a fate Spectacles is hoping to follow.
Instead of joining in on virtual or augmented reality products, Snap, Inc. has decided to do something entirely different: make Spectacles fun. Spectacles won’t allow you to check your email while you’re out-on-the-town or play Pokemon Go, but they will let you film fun videos to share with your friends. Spiegel has gone so far as to call Spectacles simply “a toy” and explain that they were created “because it’s fun”— and that might be where their strength lies.
As anyone who uses Snapchat knows, Snapchatting is all about having fun. The videos don’t last, they’re often silly or obnoxious or just plain fun, and they’re a more “real” side of social media compared to carefully curated Facebook and Twitter profiles.
The coolest possibility for Spectacles though? In our opinion it’s the opportunity for young people to tell their own stories.
Spiegel has compared Snapchat to television in what it has done for millennials. Over 60% of 13-34 year-old smartphone users have the app and 41% of 18-34 year olds use the app every day. It’s possibly the most common form of media our generation consumes (the average television network only reaches 6%).
With a tap of a button (on your smartphone or on the top left-hand corner of Spectacles frames), millennials could be off and recording their own media. As diverse millennial women this excites us: it’s an opportunity for marginalized groups to tell their own stories.
Spectacles will be priced at $129.99 and will come in black, coral, and teal when they are released this fall. While that’s not cheap, it’s certainly not as expensive as buying a video camera or recording equipment.
It could just be the perfect way for us to record their daily lives and tell stories that might not otherwise be seen.