×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Snap Intros $380 Two-Camera Spectacles — A Fashion Accessory for Snapchat AR Content

Snap is doubling down on trying to make its Snapchat-enabled Spectacles camera sunglasses a high-end social-media status symbol.

On Tuesday, the company announced Spectacles 3, the third generation of its wearable cameras designed for snapping video and photos in 3D format and seamlessly upload them to Snapchat. The latest models include two HD cameras to capture three-dimensional images and video that will let users apply new augmented-reality effects.

Spectacles 3 are priced at $380 — 2.5 times the starting $150 price point of the current generation. The new glasses are slated to ship this fall and are available to pre-order now at spectacles.com.

Why is the money-losing company, which has sold far fewer Spectacles than it initially expected, continuing to invest in hardware? The answer seems to be that Snap, which calls itself a “camera company,” sees a strategic need to have a foothold in the content-capture business.

Snap clearly is positioning Spectacles 3 as a fashion accessory — note that it gave a first look to Vogue for its September issue. Even if the Snapchat specs never achieve mass-market adoption, Snap appears to be hoping Spectacles 3 will be coveted by influencers and power users to produce cool AR posts for the Snapchat app.

And Snap isn’t planning to produce a slew of Spectacles 3. The new generation will be a limited-edition product, according to the company, with a production run that is only a fraction of the roughly 200,000 first-gen Spectacles it had sold as of last April to date. Note that in the third quarter of 2017, Snap took a write-off of nearly $40 million related to Spectacles for unsold inventory and excess purchasing commitments.

To record video, users tap either button (up to 60 seconds continuously) or press and hold for a photo. The Spectacles 3 devices also include a four-microphone array and LED indicator lights to notify people when a user is recording. The glasses provide a 3D viewer for watching Snaps captured by the Spectacles.

Video and photos captured by Spectacles 3 transfer into the Snapchat’s Memories section, where users can add new lighting, landscapes, and other AR effects to an entire scene. The Snaps also can be exported to the camera roll in circular, horizontal, square and virtual-reality formats.

Spectacles 3 come in two colors: carbon, described as a “monochromatic black with a semi-matte finish and high-gloss details”; and mineral, “inspired by cosmetic hues with a hint-of-gold frame.” The glasses also include a full-grain leather charging case equipped with a standard USB-C charging cable.

The company had reportedly been aiming to release a two-camera version of Spectacles by the end of 2018, suggesting the product faced delays.

Snap continues to bleed red ink, and recently raised $1.265 billion in debt financing to provide working capital and potentially fund acquisitions. But the company has managed to return to user growth in recent quarters, after a poorly received Snapchat app redesign in 2018, and in the second quarter of 2019 posted the fifth consecutive quarter year-over-year improvement in adjusted EBITDA.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Netflix-logo-N-icon

    Netflix Is Testing Human-Curated 'Collections'

    Netflix, a company powered by the strategic use of data, relies on artificial intelligence to suggest new content that its streaming customers are likely to be interested in. Now it’s looking to potentially add a human touch: The company has launched a limited-scale test of “Collections,” a new feature that presents groups of movies and [...]

  • wolves in the walls emmy

    Neil Gaiman VR Experience 'Wolves in the Walls' Wins Primetime Emmy

    “Wolves in the Walls,” the virtual reality (VR) experience based on Neil Gaiman’s children’s book by the same name, has been awarded with a Primetime Emmy for outstanding innovation in interactive media. The experience has been produced by San Francisco-based immersive entertainment startup Fable, which puts a big effort on making the viewer a participating [...]

  • The Void San Francisco

    The Void Teams Up With Sony Pictures for New Location-Based VR Experience

    James Murdoch-backed virtual reality (VR) startup The Void has teamed up with Sony Pictures Virtual reality to produce a new location-based VR experience, according to Curtis Hickman, the startup’s chief creative officer. Hickman revealed the partnership in a conversation with Variety this week, during which he also outlined plans to bring more original IP to [...]

  • US President Donald J. Trump speaks

    Apple Stock Down 4.6% After Trump ‘Orders’ Companies to Leave China

    Apple’s share price was down around 4.6% Friday at the close of the market, to $202.64 per share, after President Trump took to Twitter to “order” U.S. companies to leave China. The slide came amid a market-wide sell-off, with the NASDAQ sliding 3%, and the Dow dropping 623 points. Trump’s edict was a response to [...]

  • Former head of CAA China Peter

    Peter Loehr to Spearhead Asia Expansion of Genies Avatar Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Peter Loehr, the former head of CAA in China, and seasoned music executive John Possman have been tapped by digital avatar company Genies to lead its expansion into Asia. The company’s proprietary avatar technology allows users to express ideas, thoughts and feelings in a different way from text, audio and video. Within the app and [...]

  • Tim Connolly - Quibi

    Quibi Head of Partnerships and Advertising Tim Connolly Departs

    Tim Connolly, the former Hulu exec who joined Quibi last year as head of partnerships and advertising, is leaving the mobile TV subscription startup founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg. Connolly’s exit comes eight months ahead of Quibi’s planned April 2020 debut. A Quibi rep declined to comment on his departure, which was first reported by Business [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content