Snap is going ahead with a second version of its glasses -- even though the first version flopped

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  • Snapchat is preparing to release a new version of its Spectacles camera glasses, according to an FCC filing.
  • The first version of Spectacles only sold about 150,000 pairs and Snap was forced to take a $US40 million writedown.
  • The company’s dedication to the product underscores Snap CEO Evan Spiegel’s emphasis on making hardware.

Snap is preparing a second version of its camera glasses, Spectacles, according to a regulatory filing with the FCC that was made public on Tuesday.

In the filing, first reported by Variety, Snap sought permission to release a “wearable video camera” described as “Spectacles” and “Model 002.”

Most of what’s in the filing is still confidential, but the application itself is a confirmation that Snap plans to go ahead with new versions of its camera glasses, even after the first version had disappointing sales.

Some details evident from the filing: It’s equipped with more advanced Wi-Fi than the first version, and the required FCC regulatory label will now be included in the app, instead of on the glasses themselves. The device is made in China. Snap filed the application on February 24, 2018.

Snap didn’t immediately answer questions about the FCC filing nor a release date for the new Spectacles.

Recently, Cheddar’s Alex Heath reported some details about Snap’s Spectacles plans.From his story:

The second version of Spectacles is currently being manufactured with the goal of shipping by this fall, according to people familiar with the matter. Aside from being water resistant and available in new colours, the updated camera eyewear will focus on performance improvements and bug fixes rather than dramatic changes, said the people, who requested not to be named discussing confidential information.

But Snap won’t stop with version two of Spectacles. The company has also begun work on a more ambitious, third generation of Spectacles with a new design and two cameras, the people said. Snap has prototyped an aluminium design with more circular lens frames and two cameras that would allow for 3D-like depth effects in videos. Snap has additionally considered including a built-in GPS and a leather case, as well as a potential price tag of around $US300, which would be more than double the current $US130 cost for Spectacles.

When Spectacles launched in 2016 they seemed to be a hit, with huge lines of people looking to get their hands on the $US130 camera glasses.

But the hype faded, and late last year Snap admitted that it wrote down $US40 million in unsold Spectacles. Ultimately, Snap only sold 150,000 pairs of Spectacles in its first year.

But Snap CEO Evan Spiegel calls his company a “camera company,” and its continued interest in camera glasses shows that it still wants to make hardware.

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