Google Glass was an accessory only a geek could love. Snapchat Spectacles are a different story.
Snapchat’s newly branded company Snap Inc. announced late Friday plans for Spectacles, a new line of sunglasses with the capability to take 10 seconds of live video from a first-person perspective. If Spectacles seem more fashionable than Google Glass, that’s because it was deliberate — the Sony hack revealed that Snap Inc. paid a total of $15 million to work with Vergence Labs, a startup focused on visually appealing high-tech eyewear, according to Digiday.
“[Wearables] really have to be incredibly stylish or invisible so people won’t notice them at all. Google Glass obviously didn’t fit either of those criteria,” said MaryLeigh Bliss, chief content officer at YPulse. “Unless wearables offer an invaluable use, they’re really tough to stick in consumer’s behavior and patterns.”
Though Google Glass may be the less trendy forbearer to Spectacles, it’s early success in the fashion world may be telling, attracting designers like Diane von Furstenberg who created a custom model for the effort. As designers themselves take a crack at wearables — Kate Spade and Michael Kors just launched their own lines this fall — the interest in products like Spectacles may mean the support of the luxury market isn’t far behind.
“The difference between Google Glass and what I’m seeing with Spectacles is that with Glass no matter how you wore it and what you wore it with, it looked dorky,” said Joshua Gross, partner at digital agency Planetary.
The style and price point is comparable to a pair of Warby Parker glasses, Gross noted, and he anticipates that its dual functionality as eyewear and a high-tech device will reel in consumers.
“[Spectacles] don’t make you look as though you take yourself too seriously; they seem to have a fun sense of humor,” said Kurt Jaskowiak, creative director at digital shop Huge. “They look a bit ‘froggy’ to me, with the tiny circular cameras in the corners. They’re friendly and happy, and certainly less severe than Google Glass.”
Additionally, he said Spectacles serve as an extension of the growth of live video and action cameras like attachable GoPro devices.
“My prediction is that consumers will buy them. Perhaps not in droves, but the product will probably prove to be useful and fun like a GoPro,” Jaskowiak said.