Snapchat is doubling down on its failed Spectacle line, by doing its best to point out that the original Spectacles were a success because they sold 220,000 units. That is, despite the hardware being responsible for a $40 million write-down by the social media business.
You would not be alone in thinking that the new version of Spectacles would be a revolutionary change from the first version, and you would be wrong. Spectacles 2.0 is basically exactly the same, except users will be able to upload to Snapchat – and only Snapchat – in a much shorter period of time. The yellow dots on the front of the glasses are also gone, and as a result, the business expects users to wear Spectacles as their everyday glasses.
And herein lies the strategy. Snapchat assumes that once users adopt Spectacles as their glasses of choice, the connection between daily life and the Snapchat app will be complete. The thinking is that when you see something, you won’t have to take out your phone in order to Snapchat; just look at what you want to take a picture of, upload it quickly and easily to your phone and Snapchat away.
The presupposition is that spectacles will eventually become mainstream, despite numerous failures when it comes to connected glasses. Google experienced the most notable failure in this area, and Snapchat is apparently of the opinion that the failure was due to the aesthetics of the product, rather than the practicality. This is evidenced by minor changes to the appearance of Spectacles, rather than a focus on functional improvement.
Pundits are torn on whether this is a wise move by Snapchat or a foolish attempt to prove themselves right. Wired magazine is convinced that the glasses will eventually become a mainstream product and that Snapchat is on the right track. Almost universally, every other commentator points out the failings of the category as a whole, and the uphill battle that will certainly be faced by anyone attempting to make connected glasses a thing. After all, if Google can’t do it who can?