A whole new type of urban photography is potentially coming.
We don’t mind seeing a real photography exhibition from time to time, but if Snapchat has its way, we could be seeing a lot more photos and videos of ourselves online, whether we want to or not.
Snap, the company behind the massively popular selfie app, Snapchat, has begun selling a certain type of sunglasses that can capture video, audio, and photos, all from the wearer’s point-of-view, which can then be uploaded to your Snapchat account.
Now you might be thinking that you’ve already seen these odd-looking sunglasses before and that’s because, well, this is Snap’s second attempt at selling a wearable camera wrapped in high-tech fashionable sunglasses.
Snap has (in its own words) upgraded the so-called Spectacles in terms of functionality and design, but we’ll see about that.
For a company which reported a $40 million loss on unsold Spectacles (which equates to roughly 300,000 units), it is slightly mystifying as to why we’re seeing a 2.0 version on a product that, by and large, was not very popular.
Snap’s own CEO, Evan Spiegel, admitted that only around 220,000 Spectacles were sold, obviously a way lower figure than the company was hoping to achieve.
However, Spiegel and Snap evidently love the analogy of falling and getting back on a horse, which is why we’re being treated to a brand new and shiny version of the Spectacles.
So what do you do to sell a product that already wasn’t a big hit? It’s obvious. Make it more expensive.
Snap’s first go at Spectacles cost an already hefty price tag of £130, but the updated version will now cost you £150.
For that, you’ll have the selection of three different colours (bright blue, dark red, or matte black), a slimmer frame that’s now water resistant, enhanced battery life and improved charging station (which is the sunglasses case), and overall better audio and video quality.
The option to take photos is also completely new, as this wasn’t even available in the first version, but recording 10-second video clips is something that still remains.
That said, make no mistake, these sunglasses are still lightyears away from being cool, at least to anyone who isn’t a teenager.
When these are what you’re competing against if you’re Snap, then the likes of Michael Kors, Ray-Ban, or even Tom Ford have nothing to worry about in the UK. Seriously, these Spectacles are not pretty.
Loud, obnoxious and intruding (and that’s just the people likely to wear them), the Snapchat Spectacles just – we hate to say it – aren’t at all fashionable. Somewhat useful? Maybe if you’re young and have a day at the beach or are attempting some skateboard trick and wish to be hands-free with your recording.
But as something you’d wear at a family BBQ, riding the tram to work (whilst everyone wonders if you’re secretly filming them), or just dashing into Starbucks for a coffee? Not a chance.
The ugly yellow ring adorning the camera lens on the first version has thankfully been removed, and yet the problem of the general public already being uneasy with so many CCTV cameras and smartphones all around them rightfully hangs in the air.
Will we see thousands of pairs of these Spectacles being worn on the streets of Manchester?
There will undoubtedly be a few, although this feels like a high-fashion fad that might stick around a while longer in London or New York.
In short, it’s not something Manchester needs, nor wants. Wired.com believes these Spectacles are a necessary step for better wearable tech in the future, but is this a future we really want to be a part of?
Image courtesy of Tim Parker via Flickr, with thanks.