Snapchat is probably THE app for millennials right now, with its main draw being platform where you can show off your life 10 seconds at a time (before it disappears 24 hours later).
There are those, however, who cannot fathom why anyone would want to do that, when other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram allow you to upload longer videos that you can view indefinitely for days to come.
The appeal of Snapchat though, is that it reaches out to a generation that is all about sharing instant snippets of their lives in the moments that they happen.
Anything happening in the next 24 hours is another story for another day.
In September, Snapchat dropped a sneak peak of their new product.
It is not a new app, nor is it additional features for Snapchat itself. Rather, they have pulled a surprise on their users, and released their own physical product.
While people find it curious that they didn’t go down the smartwatch route, I think that having a wearable that goes from the wrist and onto the face is a smarter decision.
Disregarding the failure that is Google Glass for a moment, people are putting visors on their heads now, more than ever, because of the popularity of Virtual Reality.
With Spectacles, Snapchat is putting their own twist on what people’s virtual content looks like through their own personal reality. Camera lens on the right and LED indicator on the left, this hipster looking pair of tech shades lets you record your usual 10 seconds through the touch of a button located at the top of the frame.
With the launch of their new product, Snapchat wants to go full legit as a tech company, so they’re calling themselves Snap Inc., with the Snapchat name now solely belonging to the app, and their first wearable simply known as Spectacles.
It’s Finally On Sale!
Nearly 2 months later, Spectacles have finally gone on sale.
Through a viral marketing campaign, Snap Inc. is selling its latest products via vending machines known as SnapBots.
What’s a viral promotional campaign if the locations of these SnapBots are not being kept random?
This is what the Spectacles look like.
And the cost of getting one? US$129.99.
I don’t know about you, but that’s a decent sum of money in a world where people spend many times more on non-tech shades from the biggest fashion labels.
The case does more than just serve aesthetics purposes – it also charges your shades!
There are contact points on both the inside and outside of the case- the one outside is where you attach a magnetic cable which you can plug into an old USB wall charger, while the one inside is where the Spectacles can ‘dock’ into to initiate charging.
Making A Fashion Statement
The Spectacles are available in three colours: Coral, Teal, and Black, which also corresponds to similarly-coloured buttons on the SnapBot vending machine when you purchase them.
Judging from the promotional materials that have been released, the Spectacles look like something of an instant hit.
Simple, they are being showed off as a lifestyle and fashion accessory instead of some geeky tech mashup (cue Google Glass). Also, the way in which they are being sold helps too, with many describing it as an experience equivalent to buying a toy.
Instantly Sold Out, And An Expected eBay Appearance
So far, the SnapBot has only appeared in California, with the first location being Venice Beach.
As of today, it is at Loma Vista.
Anywhere it goes, long queues follow, and those who were too slow to get their hands on one are told by staff that stocks for the day have run dry.
As with any piece of tech novelty though, it is sure to make its way to the ‘wonderful’ world of eBay by enterprising resellers.
Sure enough, there they are at prices one could only describe as so astronomical that Donald Trump himself would be proud.
On average, prices after eBay’s currency conversion puts the Spectacles somewhere in the region of S$1,500, but where’s the fun in that?
Let’s take a look at both ends of the the price spectrum.
While by no means affordable and fairly priced, the cheapest Spectacles listing right now for anyone outside of the USA (let alone California itself), costs a hair above S$500.
Boring figures, let’s go to the exciting stuff.
This seller’s listing is one that can simply be described as astonishing. At US$2,500 (~S$3,530.75), it costs more than some people’s monthly salaries, and in the US that amount can probably get you a car too.
By the way, all the above prices are not inclusive of shipping, so costs for that may vary between sellers.
Just Another Fad?
Just about every other major tech reviewer and personalities are giving the Spectacles a passing grade, but one has to wonder whether this will be a timeless piece of lifestyle tech, or just another passing fad for the social media generation.
Just look at smartwatches – even Apple couldn’t save it.
Google tried to make everyone look cool with their glasses, but instead, their limited functionality and availability made the few owners look more like anomalies.
Snap Inc. would have to be very careful in playing their cards right for their new product, or else it may just potentially be a distant memory once the next cool tech toy by someone else is released.