November 21, 2018

Upcoming Release of 'Spectacles 3' May Signal the Future of AR

Snap to release two-camera Spectacles 3
Creating augmented-reality video content could be as easy as slipping on a pair of glasses. Or at least that's Snap Inc.'s hope.

Snapchat's parent company Snap Inc. is preparing to release a new version of their Spectacles hardware, according to a Cheddar report. Spectacles 3 (known as "Newport" within the company) will reportedly be on the market before the end of the year and will feature two cameras instead of one in an aluminum frame.

The added camera means the new glasses will have a higher price point at $350, more than double the original Spectacles, which were released in 2016.

The camera will continue to work in conjunction with the Snapchat app and will now be able to utilize its augmented reality elements. This means that there could be potential to overlay 3D filters and virtual objects onto footage. Snap, Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel sees this as a major selling point.

Spectacles 2 allowed for up to 30 seconds of captured video. No word on whether the latest iteration will record even longer clips.

The earlier releases of Spectacles notoriously underperformed in 2017. The company ordered 800,000 pairs of the first release, many of which went unsold, resulting in a nearly $40-million unsold inventory write-down. According to the Cheddar report, Snap is ordering a more conservative 24,000 pairs of Spectacles 3. Despite the early misses, Spiegel continues to lean into hardware and has said cameras are the focus of the company's long-term strategy.

Obviously, Spectacles are made as a tie-in to Snapchat, but the footage can be exported and used in other ways. Filmmakers might be able to capture unique point-of-view shots with tech like this, although the short recording time might prove limiting. Perhaps Spectacles are just a stepping-stone toward more practical camera technology.

After all, Snap Inc. is no stranger to creators, and if the company is serious about making cameras, this could provide interesting new ground for collaboration, and augmented reality could expand the playground for visual storytelling.

What are your thoughts on Spectacles 3? Let us know in the comments.     

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