Snapchat Spectacles: Snapchat knows how to make a splash, and it proved it on Thursday with the debut of its camera-equipped Spectacles sunglasses.A smiling, yellow vending machine with balloons strapped to the top appeared unexpectedly in Venice Beach on Thursday morning, and crowds of people quickly queued up to buy the limited-edition $130 glasses.
Buy Snapchat Spectacles are available for sale at $130
Snap Inc, the new corporate name that Snapchat recently adopted, paid lots of attention to the details for its first consumer electronics product. From the futuristic vending machine, which the company has already restocked with extra inventory, to the packaging of the glasses, the experience of buying Spectacles is clearly meant to be fun and different.
Now, the first Spectacles have gone on sale in Venice Beach in LA – but, as was to be expected from Snap Inc, the launch was far from traditional.Snap Inc's Spectacles are only being sold via cartoony vending machines called Snapbots being placed in 'surprising locations throughout the US.' These vending machines are in the, now iconic, Snapchat yellow with a large 'eye' on the front and receptacle designed to look like a mouth.
A map on the Spectacles' website will reveal more about these locations, but Snapchat said they will all be in locations that lend themselves well to making memories – so expect some near landmarks, places of interest or anywhere with an amazing view. Snap Inc has not revealed plans to release the Spectacles in the UK and Europe, yet.
The Snapbot 'sleeps' until a person enters the vending machine's camera's field of vision at which point it lets them virtually try on different colors (using the corresponding buttons on the front of the machine) in a similar way you can switch between lenses on the app. Once a person has selected a color and bought the Spectacles, a pair of fully-charged glasses will be dropped into the Snapbot's 'mouth'.
Since the first Spectacles went on sale yesterday, and subsequently sold out at their original location, the glasses have already appeared on eBay in excess of $500. One listing is asking people with Spectacles to fly to Australia, all expenses paid.
The Spectacles come with a built-in video camera that records footage in a circular format and allows it to be automatically shared with friends. By tapping a button on the top left-hand corner of the glasses, the recording mode is activated and 10 seconds of video is captured. If a second tap of the button is made, 30 seconds of continuous video will be recorded.
The Spectacles have been compared to Google Glass, but at least one lesson has been learnt from the failure of Google's headset. In an attempt to avoid criticism over recording people without them being informed, a light on the glasses turns on when they are recording.
At the time of launch, Evan Spiegel, the company's CEO, said the Spectacles are a "toy," "fun" and to stop the social network's 150 million daily users from holding their phones "like a wall in front of your face".