Google Glass failed because it was used by uncool nerds in shower and maybe due to some other reasons as well. Snapchat recently announced Spectacles, their first hardware offering.
Compared to Google glasses, I see rosier future for the Snapchat spectacles:
1. Hardware supports existing Snapchat product.
You can immediately envision how the new Spectacles actually enhance your Snapchat user experience. Spectacles are slave for overall Snapchat use case and provide natural gateway to deepen your relationship with brand. Google Glass was more branded as a separate product.
2. They are more lifestyle than technology.
The glasses look cool. They totally embody Snapchat brand. Spectacles are so LA. They are not looking like bunch of engineers designed it, which has been the Achilles’ heel of many wearables. Wearables should be approached fashion-first, technology-second. Usually it is great if you can create a tribe of followers, unless they are called glassholes.
3. They are meant for only one thing.
You can only record 10s video with it, that´s it. We don´t need swiss army knife wearables, we need wearables that are good at doing on particular thing. The videos are not just replicas of what you would be creating with smartphone. They are circular, which resemble more of human vision. The videos created with Spectacles are unique.
4. They are affordable.
“They’re positioning it as this fun toy for people to engage with, not something that you need to think about as your next big technology investment.”
– Josh Elman, Greylock Partners
They only cost 130 dollars, so teens are more likely to drunk buy them from eCommerce site instead of Apple watch.
5. Spectacles have nothing to lose, but much to gain
“It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it.”
The CEO of Snapchat calls the spectacles a toy and there will be limited distribution in the beginning. Snapchat will not live or die with Spectacles. However, if Spectacles will become hit, it could have interesting implications for Snapchat. They could free themselves from the confinement of smartphones. Snapchat has already forced brands to create vertical video, maybe this will change on how we approach digital photography in general. Philosophically it is also interesting that Spectacles are meant for the selfie-generation but the focus is outwards. You are filming what happens around you, not yourself.
What starts now as novelty, could become a true game changer.