Snap's smart glasses are now a multi-million dollar business for the social media company that operates Snapchat. In its earnings call, Snap Inc CFO Drew Vollero revealed that the Snap Spectacles, a pair of sunglasses with a camera that captures photos and videos for sharing on Snapchat, generated $8.3 million in revenue for the first quarter. Overall, Snap Inc earned $149.9 million for the quarter. When broken down, this means that Snap sold upwards of 60,000 sets of Spectacles in that time period. In the same call, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel claims that more than 5 million snaps have been recorded and shared by wearers of Snap Spectacles. According to Snap, Snapchat reaches 41 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34.
When they launched, the $130 Snap Spectacles, available in coral, black and teal, were only sold through pop-up vending machines called Snapbots in select cities. Earlier this year, Snap extended sales of Snap Spectacles to online, expanding the reach of its smart sunglasses to potential buyers who didn't live near or close to a big city. As a result, Snap Spectacles turned into a "modest" business for the social media company, according to Vollero. In its IPO prospectus, Snap Inc had said that sales of Spectacles did not generate significant revenue, and that Snap Spectacles are an experiment for the company. The smart sunglasses come with an embedded camera with a 115-degree angle lens that is used to shoot first-person 10-second videos. The videos, called snaps, can be saved or shared on Snap Inc's Snapchat platform. From the outside, the Snap Spectacles look more like a regular pair of eyewear, especially when compared with Google Glass.
Also, unlike Google Glass, the functionality of Spectacles is more limited to just camera recording. For those concerned about privacy, lights on the inner side and on the frame of Spectacles will indicate that the sunglasses are recording. Despite being reserved about Snap Spectacles, Snap executives are optimistic about the future of wearables and technology. Spiegel says that Snap is committed to exploring new technology, and that the company will continue to invest in hardware projects, even if they don't result in huge sales. This is fitting, considering that Snap describes itself as a camera company.