Snapchat’s first hardware product was leaked on Friday and surprised everyone: new company name (Snap Inc. for Wall Street folks) and a $130 wireless-connected video-recording sunglasses.
I’m not sure if the company decided to officially announce the new product that same day to avoid losing the momentum created by the leak, but they knew how to do it: an exclusive interview for the Wall Street Journal.
So the biggest question is: will it succeed? Will people buy the Spectacles? Evan Spiegel (Snap’s CEO) downplayed the importance of the announcement by saying that the Spectacles are a “toy” and that the release would be slow.
The company is probably being cautious because of previous market failures like Google Glass. But is this a comparable product? I don’t think so.
Google Glass had a price tag of $1500, an aura of “for developers only” and a futuristic design that didn’t appeal to everyone. Snapchat’s Spectacles are cheap even for a teenager (yes, that same teenager that has an iPhone), have a playful design and are easy to use: just press a button to start recording whatever you are looking at.
Google Glass also failed because of the privacy issues that it raised – am I being recorded right now by that guy? The recording indicator was too soft, so subtle that it creeped people out. The Spectacles have a prominent light when they are recording.
So will it succeed? I think the better question is: will Snap produce the Spectacles fast enough to supply the demand from those teenagers that spend hours glued to their Snapchat app?
Image via Snap Inc.