Spectacles (product)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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)
Third generation: November 2019 (2019-11)
Introductory priceFirst generation: US$129.99
Second generation: US$149.99
Third generation: US$379.99
Camera115° field of view
Online servicesSnapchat

Spectacles are smartglasses dedicated to recording video for the Snapchat service. This term is often used to address sunglasses and eyeglasses. 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 5, 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]

On August 13, 2019, Snap announced its Spectacles 3, which featured a new minimalistic frame and two cameras to replicate stereoscopic vision. The Spectacles shipped in November 2019 for $380.[6][7]

Spectacles 4 announced in 2021


In December 2014 Snap Inc., then Snapchat Inc., acquired Vergence Labs [8] the developers of the Epiphany Eyewear smartglasses.[9] Vergence Labs was founded by entrepreneur Erick Miller in 2011 before Google Glass was announced. Miller worked on the idea as a graduate student at UCLA and poured his life savings into building the product.[10] Snapchat was impressed with the Epiphany Eyewear product and the great team assembled by Miller, and acquired Vergence to develop a similar eyewear product.[11][8]

Epiphany Eyewear which recorded wide-angle point-of-view videos, had been positioned as Vergence's first step toward eventually building full featured augmented reality glasses which, according to Miller, would someday "give people what would previously be called superpowers".[11] However, due to Vergence's small engineering team (consisting of founder ceo Erick Miller, co-founder Jon Rodriguez, software engineer Peter Brook, and designer / mechanical engineer David Meisenholder), the company had to scale back its ambitions in order to ship it's simpler first product, Epiphany Eyewear, which the team was able to successfully ship despite their extremely limited funding and team size.[8] The successful development and launch of their product led to the company being noticed by Snapchat, which quietly acquired them, bringing them in-house to develop a similar but much more refined eyewear product for Snapchat.

In October 2015, a leaked online video showed an early version of the new glasses, dubbed "Spectacles."[12] on 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.[13][14][15]

The new product was unveiled on September 24, 2016, and[16] released on November 10, 2016.[17] The glasses were sold through Snapbot, a proprietary vending machine for the smartglasses, which was located near Snap's headquarters in Venice, Los Angeles.[17]

In May 2017, a Snapchat patent became public which included an illustration of a hypothetical future version of Spectacles with augmented reality capabilities.[18]

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.[19] 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.[19]

In June 2018, Snap released an update for Spectacles allowing users to export videos from the glasses in square or widescreen format.[20]

In November 2018, it was reported that the company would release a new version of Spectacles by year end 2018 that included two cameras.[21] The Snap Spectacles 3, which did feature two HD cameras on-device, were ultimately announced in August 2019.[7]

In May 2021, Snap announced its first AR-based product called Spectacles 4.[22] The AR effects are officially referred to as Lenses and feature dual 3D waveguide display with a 26.3-degree diagonal field of view.[23][24] It runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 chip and has 2 RGB cameras, 4 microphones, and 2 stereo speakers.[25] Snap claimed to have more than 250,000 Lens creators who created 2.5 million Lenses altogether.[26] AR experiences available on the glasses as of December 2021 included "a zombie chase, a pong game, Solar System projection, and an interactive art piece." Additionally, according to The Verge, "Another new software update brings Connected Lenses to Spectacles, letting multiple pairs interact with the same Lens when sharing a Wi-Fi network."[26][27]



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.[28] 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).[28] They sync with its designated smartphone via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.[29] 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.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32]


The Spectacles circular video format

Spectacles glasses capture video in a circular format, as shown in the thumbnail to the right. Snap Inc claims this is to more closely approximate the field of view of the human eye.

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).[33][34] 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.[35]


A Snapbot vending machine in Berlin

A Snapbot is a pop-up vending machine developed and manufactured by Snap Inc.[36] 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.[37][38] In February 2017, Snapchat began selling Spectacles online.[37]

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. ^ "Snapchat Download for Android and IOS Latest Version". opo6. 2019-10-29. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  7. ^ a b Damiani, Jesse. "Snap Announces Spectacles 3: $380 With New Design And 3D Capture". Forbes. Archived from the original on August 14, 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  8. ^ a b c 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. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Shontell, Alyson (12 March 2014). "There's A Much Cooler, Cheaper Alternative To Google Glass That's Backed By Quora's Founder". Business Insider. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  11. ^ a b PITME "Technology in a Tent" Interview with Erick Miller & Peter Brook, Vergence Labs. PITME. 2 August 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Snapchat's Leaked Video Shows Off Their Secret New Glasses". Elite Daily. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  13. ^ Kleinman, Jacob (11 March 2016). "Snapchat glasses? Recent hires suggest it might actually happen". TechnoBuffalo. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  14. ^ Matney, Lucas (11 March 2016). "Snapchat has a secret team possibly building a pair of smart glasses". TechCrunch. Retrieved 16 November 2016 – via AOL.
  15. ^ Kosoff, Maya (10 June 2016). "Is Snapchat Working on a Google Glass-Style Competit". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  16. ^ Chaykowski, Kathleen (24 September 2016). "Snapchat Leaps Into Hardware, Rebrands As 'Snap Inc.'". Forbes. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ "A Snapchat patent application would map the world in an augmented reality database". The Verge. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
  19. ^ a b Bradshaw, Tim (May 23, 2018). "Review: Snap's Spectacles 2.0". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  20. ^ Cohen, David (22 June 2018). "Snap Spectacles Users Now Have New Formats For Exporting Their Photos and Videos". Adweek. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  21. ^ "Snap's Bringing Spectacles Back Despite Weak Sales of the Original". Fortune. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
  22. ^ "Snap Announces Spectacles 4.0 With Built-In AR Displays That Aren't for Sale". gizmodo.com. Alyse Stanley. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  23. ^ "Snapchat showcases AR Spectacles and a Connected Lenses future". indianexpress.com. Shruti Dhapola. 21 May 2021. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  24. ^ Goode, Lauren. "Snap Made AR Glasses—but You Won't Be Buying Them". Wired. Lauren Goode. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  25. ^ "Snap's new Spectacles let you see the world in augmented reality". theverge.com. Alex Heath. 20 May 2021. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  26. ^ a b "Snap's first AR Spectacles are an ambitious, impractical start". theverge.com. Alex Heath. 7 December 2021. Retrieved 7 December 2021.
  27. ^ "SPS 2021: Introducing the Next Generation of Spectacles". newsroom.snap.com. Retrieved 2023-02-24.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ Moon, Mariella (23 September 2016). "Snapchat to release $130 camera-equipped Spectacles this fall". Engadget. Retrieved 16 November 2016 – via AOL.
  30. ^ Stein, Scott (11 November 2016). "We tried Snapchat Spectacles -- here's what it's like". CNET. Retrieved 16 November 2016 – via CBS Interactive.
  31. ^ "Spectacle accessories". Snapchat.
  32. ^ "Snap Spectacles V2 Teardown: A feat in space-constrained hardware engineering". Mindtribe. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  33. ^ Hartmans, Avery (16 November 2016). "Here's how to pair Snapchat Spectacles with your phone". Business Insider. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  34. ^ "Wearable of the Month: Snapchat's Spectacles", Humavox, 29 September 2016
  35. ^ 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.
  36. ^ Where and How to Buy Snapchat Spectacles?
  37. ^ a b Elliott, Matt. "How to buy Snapchat Spectacles". CNET. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
  38. ^ "Snapbots". Spectacles Support. Snap Inc. Retrieved 16 November 2016.

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