Spectacles, the buzzy camera-glasses from Snapchat, have finally landed in Europe.
On Friday morning, the social media company’s first hardware product went on sale across the continent. In short: They’re just a pair of sunglasses with a video camera built-in. But when they first debuted in the US they proved an instant hit, thanks to Snapchat’s canny marketing, a limited supply, and use of pop-up “Snapbot” vending machines to sell them.
In Europe, they’re available to buy online from a dedicated website — but the company has also brought over its Snapbots for customers looking for the full experience.
In London, the vending machine is located beneath the London Eye and will remain there throughout June, a company rep said, with Spectacles going for £129.99. Elsewhere in Europe, they are “on a boat in front of the Eiffel Tower, by the canals in Venice, on the beach in Barcelona and on the high ropes in Berlin.” (Here’s a map of the current locations.)
The Snapbot experience seems to be pretty much identical to what it was in the US. It’s big, and yellow. There’s balloons on top of it. A security guard is on hand in case of issues, while Snapchat employees watch discretely from the sidelines.
There’s three buttons on the front, corresponding to the three colour options — coral, black, and blue. When you press one, the screen superimposes a virtual pair of the specs onto your face so you can see how you’d look.
The location of the Snapbot had been kept a secret pre-launch, so at 7am, when it formally opened, it was pretty quiet. The first sale actually went to the security guard on duty, he said. He opted for black.
I don’t have a spare £130 lying around, so I didn’t buy a pair for myself. But a Snapchat employee was kind enough to let me try his on, and you can read my American colleagues’ reviews of the glasses here.
In the US, there were sometimes significant queues as people waited in line to buy the hyped Spectacles. Their availability online means there may be less in-person demand — but that remains to be seen. We’ll update this story later this morning with more from the scene, so stay tuned.
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