Snap isn’t backing down from its effort to sell video-recording sunglasses, unveiling its third iteration that doubles the cameras and the price.
On Tuesday, parent company of Snapchat, continuing its push into augmented reality hardware, unveiled the newest Spectacles glasses, which will be available as a “limited edition” in November.
Spectacles 3 will feature two HD cameras on each side of the glasses’ frames, allowing for depth perception and 3D effects for the first time. They’ll cost $380, more than twice the $150 price tag of the last version.
CEO Evan Spiegel has made it no secret that Snap intends to adopt augmented reality, not just as a technology, but as a key component of hardware products. The glasses are Snap’s “latest effort to build a new computing platform centered on the face,” according to The Verge.
The product builds on augmented reality face filters and interactive games popularized by Snapchat. The company credited a gender-swapping lens that launched in May and became a meme with attracting 200 million users to the app in two weeks.
A Snap spokesman told Bloomberg that this version of the eyewear is intended “to draw [Snap’s] community closer to a future in which computing is overlaid on the world, rather than confined to a small screen.”
- Previous versions failed to catch on. Snap wrote down $40 million in unsold inventory for the first version of Spectacles in November 2017, and considered revenue from Spectacles 2 as “not material” in its most recent earnings report.
- Comparable A.R. glasses are clunky and not intended for everyday consumer use. Some focus on enterprise usage, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and the latest iteration of Google’s Glass. Others are meant more for entertainment, such as Magic Leap and Epson’s Moverio.
- Despite several quarters of stalling growth, Snap reported an 8% jump in daily active users and a 48% boost in year-over-year revenue in the second quarter of 2019. However, it still reported a $305 million operating loss.
- Last week, Snap disclosed in an SEC filing that it had entered into a purchase agreement related to the sale of $1.3 billion of convertible senior notes in a private debt offering. The company noted that it may use some of the funds “to acquire complementary businesses, products, services, or technologies.”
- Karma Take: Despite potential and actual losses caused by Spectacles, Snap is positioning itself as a leader in consumer-facing augmented reality. It will likely benefit should the technology go mainstream, especially in terms of hardware.