Unless you plan on bumping into stuff, don’t expect to record after-dark concerts and parties on your Snap Inc Spectacles. The company formerly known as Snapchat (they really should have just changed it to the ? emoji, Prince-style) confirms to me its new camera glasses are not currently built to be worn at night. Their lenses are like normal sunglasses, so it’d be too shady to see with them on.
This fact reinforces the idea of Spectacles as “a toy”. That’s how Snap CEO Evan Spiegel referred to them while talking to the Wall Street Journal, which never mentioned they’re for day-use only.
When the $130 Specs are released this fall, you might have to stick to barbecues and day-time music festivals when you want to tap the rim of your glasses to record 10 seconds of circular, first-person video.
Perhaps future iterations could come with clear lenses or photochromatic light-adaptive lenses that are dark in the sun and transparent at night or indoors. By ditching extra functionality to keep the price reasonable, Snapchat may be able to market the glasses as an aspirational buy for its teen user base. That will go smoother if it can align Spectacles with celebrities people want to emulate.
The first version of Spectacles might not be as transformational of a technology as some hoped. Yet it gives Snapchat more control of the image capture and saving experience. With time, engineering, and product finesse, Specs could evolve into something we see ourselves wearing whenever we go somewhere we want to share.
But if public perception lumps them in with geeky Google Glass or unnecessary Flipcams, Spiegel will have spent a lot of Snap’s $2 billion-plus in venture capital on something just for him to play with.
Read our feature piece on the potential and pitfalls of Snap’s Spectacles