Snapchat isn’t just an app anymore.
On Friday the company officially renamed itself to Snap Inc. and announced a pair of camera-equipped sunglasses called Spectacles.
Snap has been secretly working on these glasses for years, dating back to its acquisition of a small startup called Vergence Labs in 2014. Sources close to the company say CEO Evan Spiegel and cofounder Bobby Murphy have been closely involved in making the glasses with a small, top-secret team known internally as Snap Labs.
We don’t know everything about how Snap’s Spectacles will work, and the company isn’t saying when they will be available besides “this fall.” But here’s what we do know so far:
Snap's Spectacles will cost $129 and come in three colours: black, teal, and coral. They will be available in limited quantity sometime this fall.
The glasses record up to 10 seconds of circular video through a 115-degree-angle lens, which is designed to look closer to how the human eye sees.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel recounted a hiking trip he took while wearing the glasses to The Journal:
'I could see my own memory, through my own eyes -- it was unbelievable. It's one thing to see images of an experience you had, but it's another thing to have an experience of the experience. It was the closest I'd ever come to feeling like I was there again.'
Video you record will be wirelessly sent to the Memories section of the Snapchat app. From there you can choose to post the video to your account's Story for others to see.
We don't know exactly how Spectacles will connect to your phone, but we assume it will use Bluetooth.
These glasses are clearly just the beginning for Snap's hardware ambitions. It now calls itself 'a camera company.'
'When we were just getting started it made sense to name our company Snapchat Inc., because Snapchat was our only product!' Spiegel wrote on the company blog. 'Now that we are developing other products, like Spectacles, we need a name that goes beyond just one product -- but doesn't lose the familiarity and fun of our team and brand.'
'Changing our name also has another benefit: when you search for our products it will be easier to find relevant product information rather than boring company information or financial analysis. You can search Snapchat or Spectacles for the fun stuff and leave Snap Inc. for the Wall Street crowd :)'
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