Snap is looking to revamp its camera-enabled Spectacles smart glasses with a dual-camera version before the end of 2018, according to a recent report from Cheddar citing individuals said to have inside knowledge on the matter. Developed under the alias “Newport,” the design of the new spectacles will be centered around the use of high-end materials and follow a completely new direction in terms of design language. What’s more, they’ll incorporate two of a completely redesigned camera in a dual-sensor array that will enable new features building on the fundamental concepts of AR. Improvements to performance, and those lenses will allow photos and even videos to be snapped that include AR objects. Presumably, that won’t be altogether different from the type that might be added to images such as those captured by Google’s Pixel handset or Samsung’s latest devices. The additional features and improved hardware will also bump the price to around $350, as a result.
Background: The pursuit of an AR-enhanced social platform centering around capturing images is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a new focus for Snap. As the overlays, stickers, and real-time effects enabled by the technology have steadily progressed and become more popular, the company has not only been an active participant – adding its own creative features to the Snapchat application. It has also been continuously pushing to help other developers create content for its platform. That includes the development and launch of its own creative tools for creating the content itself. What’s more, it has, at least for the first two generations of its hardware, driven to make a product that is better-capable and well-suited for wearing in the real world without being completely obvious. Most recently, that’s culminated in a followup run to its second-generation Spectacles, built on the same basic functionality and components but in stylish frames that fit in better in social circumstances.
Not all of the news surrounding Spectacles has been good news. Its first iteration of the wearable performed poorly in spite of a massive amount of pre-launch hype. Near the end of 2017, the company was reported to have sold fewer than 200,000 units – well below expectations the company set based on stock purchased. This in turn had a serious impact on the company’s overall value, causing its IPO price expectations to plummet rapidly. Based on the documents seen by Cheddar, the number of units ordered by Snap for its second iteration sat around 35,000, followed by approximately 52,000 for the more premium version. Going forward, the company is understood to be planning on ordering only 24,000 pairs of the dual camera-equipped Spectacles.
Impact: By doubling down on its previous bids and improving on both the quality and experience on offer, Snap could actually do much better this time around. Arguably, the stock numbers quoted here would seem to suggest the company’s more high-end second-generation Spectacles were more appealing to consumers than the standard edition. Which might imply the even more premium — read, expensive — version might also prove to be popular for the intended market. In addition, more conservative stock orders by the company will help to ensure the wearable hardware costs remain as low as possible.