Snap launched a new version of its camera-toting sunglasses

Snap launched a new version of its Snapchat Spectacles yesterday, despite having to take a $40 million writedown for unsold stock of the first edition of its much-hyped camera-toting sunglasses last year. The move reflects co-founder Evan Spiegel’s continuing desire for the company to build its own hardware in anticipation of a future when “augmented reality” headsets might supersede the smartphone. Spectacles are designed to look like regular sunglasses, but contain a tiny video camera that records 10-second clips, which are downloaded using the Snapchat mobile app. The model is waterproof, allowing the glasses to be worn at the beach or in the pool, and downloading a clip can take three seconds — a third of the time of the previous edition of the spectacles… The electronics component in the glasses’ arms is smaller and the device is lighter. Snap has improved Spectacles’ image resolution and recorded sound quality, while adding the ability to take still photographs as well as videos. It has increased the price by $20, to $150. The first version of Spectacles was launched in November 2016, when Snap was preparing an initial public offering and wanted to position itself as a “camera company” rather than merely a messaging app or Facebook competitor… Snap said it had sold 220,000 pairs of Spectacles and insisted that the fault was with the decision to over order, rather than the product itself. 
Tim Bradshaw