Spectacles (product)

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Spectacles wordmark.svg
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.
DeveloperSnap Inc.
ManufacturerSnap Inc.
Release dateFirst generation: November 10, 2016 (2016-11-10)
Second generation: April 26, 2018 (2018-04-26)
Introductory priceFirst generation: US$129.99
Second generation: US$149.99
Camera115° field of view
Online servicesSnapchat

Spectacles are 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., and announced on September 23, 2016. The smartglasses were released on November 10, 2016. 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. This version included both software and hardware updates including water resistance functionality and increased storage.[3][4]

On September 5th, 2018, two improved second-generation Spectacles were released. The two new versions, dubbed Nico and Veronica, included major design changes that reflect more typical sunglasses styles. [5]


In December 2014 Snap Inc., then Snapchat Inc., acquired Vergence Labs, the developers of the Epiphany Eyewear smartglasses.[6] Snapchat noticed the product and acquired Vergence to develop a similar eyewear product.[7][8]

In October 2015, a leaked online video showed an early version of the glasses, dubbed "Spectacles."[9] In mid 2016, news outlets reported that Snapchat was hiring engineers from Microsoft, Nokia and Qualcomm. Reporters speculated that the hires were to build the new glasses.[10][11][12]

The new product was unveiled on September 24, 2016 and [13] released on November 10, 2016.[14] The glasses were sold through Snapbot, a proprietary vending machine for the smartglasses, which was located near Snap's headquarters in Venice, Los Angeles.[14]

In late 2017, Snapchat wrote off $40m worth of unsold Spectacles inventory and unused parts. As of May 2018, the company sold 220,000 pairs, which was less than initially expected.[15] In April 2018, the company launched Spectacles 2.0, which included additional colors, lighter frames, the option of mirrored lenses, and the removal of the bright yellow ring around the camera window. [15]

In June 2018, Snap released an update for Spectacles allowing users to export videos from the glasses in square or widescreen format. [16]

In November 2018, it was reported that the company would release a new version of Spectacles by year end 2018 that included two cameras.[17]



The original version of the glasses included a camera lens with a 115° field of view (110° on V2)[citation needed] and records in a circular format that adapts to a smartphone's screen size and orientation.[18] The smartglasses record when the user presses a button on the top left of its frame, for a maximum of 30 seconds (in 10 second intervals).[18] They sync with its designated smartphone via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.[19] The camera also houses a ring of LED lights that indicates battery level and when they are recording. The pair of glasses charge in a yellow case that has a built-in battery and connects to its proprietary cable.[20] 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.[21] 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.[citation needed]


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).[22][23] 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.[24]


A Snapbot vending machine in Berlin

A Snapbot is a pop-up vending machine developed and manufactured by Snap Inc.[25] It was designed for the distribution of Spectacles. Snapbot first appeared on November 10 2016 in Venice, Los Angeles, and was then located in Big Sur, California. Snapbot was relocated to different locations in the U.S. for several months after the release of Spectacles.[26][27] In February 2017, Snapchat began selling Spectacles online.[28]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ "Spectacles by Snap Inc. • A new way to look". www.spectacles.com. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ PITME "Technology in a Tent" Interview with Erick Miller & Peter Brook, Vergence Labs. PITME. 2 August 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  8. ^ Heath, Alex (23 November 2016). "How Snapchat secretly bought a struggling startup, then bet the future on it". Business Insider. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Snapchat's Leaked Video Shows Off Their Secret New Glasses". Elite Daily. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  10. ^ Kleinman, Jacob (11 March 2016). "Snapchat glasses? Recent hires suggest it might actually happen". TechnoBuffalo. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  11. ^ Matney, Lucas (11 March 2016). "Snapchat has a secret team possibly building a pair of smart glasses". TechCrunch. Retrieved 16 November 2016 – via AOL.
  12. ^ Kosoff, Maya (10 June 2016). "Is Snapchat Working on a Google Glass-Style Competit". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  13. ^ Chaykowski, Kathleen (24 September 2016). "Snapchat Leaps Into Hardware, Rebrands As 'Snap Inc.'". Forbes. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  14. ^ a b 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. ^ a b Bradshaw, Tim (May 23, 2018). "Review: Snap's Spectacles 2.0". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-06-08. (Subscription required (help)).
  16. ^ Cohen, David (22 June 2018). "Snap Spectacles Users Now Have New Formats For Exporting Their Photos and Videos". Adweek. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  17. ^ "Snap's Bringing Spectacles Back Despite Weak Sales of the Original". Fortune. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
  18. ^ a b Newton, Casey (16 November 2016). "Here's how Snapchat's new Spectacles will work". The Verge. Retrieved 16 November 2016 – via Vox Media.
  19. ^ Moon, Mariella (23 September 2016). "Snapchat to release $130 camera-equipped Spectacles this fall". Engadget. Retrieved 16 November 2016 – via AOL.
  20. ^ Stein, Scott (11 November 2016). "We tried Snapchat Spectacles -- here's what it's like". CNET. Retrieved 16 November 2016 – via CBS Interactive.
  21. ^ "Spectacle accessories". Snapchat.
  22. ^ Hartmans, Avery (16 November 2016). "Here's how to pair Snapchat Spectacles with your phone". Business Insider. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  23. ^ "Wearable of the Month: Snapchat's Spectacles", Humavox, 29 September 2016
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Where and How to Buy Snapchat Spectacles?
  26. ^ Elliott, Matt. "How to buy Snapchat Spectacles". CNET. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
  27. ^ "Snapbots". Spectacles Support. Snap Inc. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  28. ^ Elliott, Matt. "How to buy Snapchat Spectacles". CNET. Retrieved 2019-03-11.

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