Spectacles (product)

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Black Spectacles in carrying case.jpg
Black first-generation Spectacles with charging cable in a yellow charging case
Also known as
  • Snapchat Spectacles
  • Spectacles by Snap Inc.
Developer Snap Inc.
Manufacturer Snap Inc.
Type Smartglasses
Release date First generation: November 10, 2016 (2016-11-10)
Second generation: April 26, 2018 (2018-04-26)
Introductory price First generation: US$129.99
Second generation: US$149.99
Camera 115° field of view
Platform Snapchat
Online services Snapchat
Website spectacles.com

Spectacles are pairs of smartglasses dedicated to recording video for the Snapchat service. They feature a camera lens and are capable of recording short video segments and syncing with a smartphone to upload to the user's online account. They were developed and manufactured by Snap Inc., announced on September 23, 2016, during Snap Inc's rebrand from Snapchat Inc. and released on November 10. They are made for Snap's image messaging and multimedia platform Snapchat and were initially distributed exclusively through Snap's pop-up vending machine, Snapbot. On February 20, 2017, Snap Spectacles became available for purchase online.[2]

On April 26, 2018, a second-generation of the Spectacles launched in 17 countries.[3][4]


In December 2014 Snap Inc., then Snapchat Inc., acquired Vergence Labs, the developers of the Epiphany Eyewear smartglasses.[5] Epiphany Eyewear, which recorded wide-angle point-of-view videos, had been positioned as Vergence's first step toward eventually building biometrically-controlled augmented reality glasses which they hoped would someday "give people what would previously be called superpowers".[6] However, due to Vergence's extremely small engineering team (consisting solely of electrical engineer Jon Rodriguez, software engineer Peter Brook, and mechanical engineer David Meisenholder), the company had to scale back its ambitions in order to ship a much simpler first product, Epiphany Eyewear, which they could manage to deliver despite the extremely limited size of their team.[7] The successful development and launch of this minimum-viable product led to the company being noticed by Snapchat, which quietly acquired them, bringing them in-house to develop a similar but much more powerful and refined eyewear product for Snapchat. On October 2015, a video leaked online showed an early version of the new glasses, dubbed "Spectacles".[8] Furthermore, news outlets reported employee hirings from companies such as from Microsoft, Nokia and Qualcomm[9][10][11] and Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel was seen wearing the prototype in public according to a report by Business Insider in June.[12]

After Snapchat Inc.'s rebrand to Snap Inc. on September 24, 2016, the product was unveiled and announced on the same day.[13] The product was released on November 10, 2016 when the first Snapbot, a proprietary vending machine for the smartglasses, was located near Snap's headquarters in Venice, Los Angeles.[14]

By the end of 2017, the demand for the product had not met initial expectations. Snap wrote off $40 million worth of unsold inventory and unused parts. It sold 220,000 pairs as of May 23, 2018. In April 2018 the company launched Spectacles 2.0.. Updates to the product included a new Spectacles look with more colors, the option of mirrored lenses and the removal of the bright yellow ring around the camera window. The weight of the glasses was made lighter and more comfortable.[15]



The glasses consist of two separate houses within the sides of the frame for the battery and camera. The camera lens has a 115° field of view and records in a circular format that adapts to a smartphone's screen size and orientation.[16] The smartglasses record when the user presses a button on the top left of its frame, up to a maximum of 10 seconds, and syncs with its designated smartphone via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.[17] The camera also houses a ring of LED lights that indicate the battery level, when the camera is recording, etc. The pair of glasses charge in a yellow case that has a built-in battery and connects to its proprietary cable.[18] The cable can be attached either to the case or directly to the glasses. According to the manufacturer, the fully charged case will hold enough power to recharge the glasses four times.[19] The lithium-ion batteries in both the case and the glasses draw power from a standard 5 volt USB power supply, and connect via a USB cable which is held in place by small magnets.


The glasses are exclusive to Snap Inc.'s service, Snapchat. They are paired by looking at the user's account Snapcode and pressing the button on the glasses frame, as well as connecting to them via Bluetooth (for iOS devices).[20][21] The videos taken on the glasses are stored internally within the camera and can be viewed and individually uploaded in the "Memories" section of Snapchat.[22]


A Snapbot vending machine in Berlin

A Snapbot is a proprietary pop-up vending machine developed and manufactured by Snap Inc.[23] It is designed for the exclusive distribution of Spectacles and is randomly placed anywhere in the world for the duration of a day, with the exception of Venice, Los Angeles, as well as a previous location in New York City, operating through a pop-up store. The machine has three buttons for the Spectacles' color options: coral, black and teal and has a dispenser in the shape of a semicircle-esque smile.[24] It allows the person to virtually "try on" the glasses using Snapchat's lens technology and the dispenser illuminates when the Spectacles are dispensed.[25]


  1. ^ "Compatibility". Spectacles Support. Snap Inc. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  2. ^ Savvides, Lexy (February 20, 2017). "Finally! Spectacles are available online". Adweek. San Francisco, CA. Retrieved February 20, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Snapchat's New Spectacles Can Do One Important Thing the Old Version Couldn't". Time. Retrieved 2018-04-28. 
  4. ^ Hern, Alex (2018-04-26). "Snapchat hopes for second time lucky with new Spectacles launch". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-28. 
  5. ^ Yarow, Jay; Shontell, Alyson; Cook, James (16 December 2015). "It Looks Like Snapchat Paid $15 Million To Buy A Google Glass-Like Startup". Business Insider. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  6. ^ PITME "Technology in a Tent" Interview with Erick Miller & Peter Brook, Vergence Labs. PITME. 2 August 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2017. 
  7. ^ Heath, Alex (23 November 2016). "How Snapchat secretly bought a struggling startup, then bet the future on it". Business Insider. Retrieved 24 May 2017. 
  8. ^ "Snapchat's Leaked Video Shows Off Their Secret New Glasses". Elite Daily. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  9. ^ Kleinman, Jacob (11 March 2016). "Snapchat glasses? Recent hires suggest it might actually happen". TechnoBuffalo. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  10. ^ Matney, Lucas (11 March 2016). "Snapchat has a secret team possibly building a pair of smart glasses". TechCrunch. Retrieved 16 November 2016 – via AOL. 
  11. ^ Kosoff, Maya (10 June 2016). "Is Snapchat Working on a Google Glass-Style Competit". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  12. ^ Carson, Biz (17 June 2016). "Snapchat's CEO wore the company's secret-camera sunglasses in public — and nobody noticed". Business Insider. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  13. ^ Chaykowski, Kathleen (24 September 2016). "Snapchat Leaps Into Hardware, Rebrands As 'Snap Inc.'". Forbes. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  14. ^ Gartenburg, Chaim (10 November 2016). "Snapchat's Spectacles are available today from strange yellow vending machines". The Verge. Retrieved 16 November 2016 – via Vox Media. 
  15. ^ Bradshaw, Tim (May 23, 2018). "Review: Snap's Spectacles 2.0". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-06-08. (Subscription required (help)). 
  16. ^ Newton, Casey (16 November 2016). "Here's how Snapchat's new Spectacles will work". The Verge. Retrieved 16 November 2016 – via Vox Media. 
  17. ^ Moon, Mariella (23 September 2016). "Snapchat to release $130 camera-equipped Spectacles this fall". Engadget. Retrieved 16 November 2016 – via AOL. 
  18. ^ Stein, Scott (11 November 2016). "We tried Snapchat Spectacles -- here's what it's like". CNET. Retrieved 16 November 2016 – via CBS Interactive. 
  19. ^ "Spectacle accessories". Snapchat. 
  20. ^ Hartmans, Avery (16 November 2016). "Here's how to pair Snapchat Spectacles with your phone". Business Insider. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  21. ^ "Wearable of the Month: Snapchat's Spectacles", Humavox, 29 September 2016 
  22. ^ Hartmans, Avery (16 November 2016). "REVIEW: Snapchat's Spectacles live up to the hype, but have a ways to go". Business Insider. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  23. ^ Where and How to Buy Snapchat Spectacles?
  24. ^ "Snapbots". Spectacles Support. Snap Inc. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  25. ^ Ellingson, Anniee (11 November 2016). "Snapchat Spectacles go on sale in pop-up vending machines". Upstart Business Journal. Retrieved 16 November 2016 – via American City Business Journals. 

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