Snapchat's erstwhile super-secret smart glass wearable project has been officially unveiled with the launch of a product called Spectacles today.
The announcement was made by Evan Spiegel, Snapchat CEO, before a group of reporters, who were also treated to the news that Snapchat has undergone rebranding and has been renamed as Snap Inc.
Spiegel primarily cited Spectacles as a toy in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. It is, however, still expected to have potentially powerful impact since it will free the Snapchat ecosystem from smartphone cameras.
Spectacles is capable of taking 10-second videos. More importantly, it is distinguished by the way it takes circular videos, which is the same as saying footages resemble the human vision. This is made possible by the 115-degree angle lens, which are touted to be significantly wider than a smartphone camera's field of view.
Spiegel explained that the new video format is imperative due to the company's view that rectangular photograph is "an unnecessary vestige of printing photos on sheets of paper."
No other detailed specifications were provided except the information regarding how the device can sync with smartphones wirelessly for easy video sharing.
Prior to Spectacles' launch, a leaked video has already provided the public with a preview of the prototype. In what appeared to be an ad clip, Spectacles was shown with a camera lens mounted at the top part of sunglasses. It was equipped with flash and could capture videos by pushing a dedicated button located in its frame. Essentially, the operation is as straightforward as wearing and using Google Glass.
Tech Times has already reported that Snapchat might be developing a Google Glass-like contraption, citing the company's acquisition of Vergence Labs, which also manufactures smart eyeglasses. This was followed by a series of high-profile hirings, which include Mark Dixon, who had been part of Microsoft's HoloLens team, and Lauryn Morris, an eyewear designer.
The wearable was already spotted in August, when Spiegel was photographed wearing a Spectacles prototype while spending time with model Miranda Kerr.
According to Snap Inc., Spectacles will start rolling out this fall, and they will cost $130 apiece. This is significantly cheaper than Google's highly controversial Google Glass, which costs more than $1,000. Spectacles will come, however, in limited quantity to allow the company opportunity to gauge reception and demand. The cautious approach seems to take insights from Google's experience. Interest for the Google Glass has gradually fizzled in the past years due to privacy concerns. It prompted the search company to downsize its Project Glass initiative.