Snapchat broke big news Friday night when it announced it would become “Snap Inc.” and release its first hardware product.
That product is called Spectacles, or Specs, and so far it seems like they’re a cooler, Snapchat-friendly version of Google Glass.
So what do we know about Spectacles thus far?
1. Spectacles record circular video
Snap Inc.’s Spectacles are glasses that come with a built-in Snap video camera, the company says. That video is saved in a new circular video format that plays full screen on other products.
The video is recorded through a 115-degree-angle lens that more closely matches the eyes’ natural field of vision.
Spectacles record 10 seconds at a time when the wearer taps a button on the top left-hand corner of the glasses. To add more time, the wearer can tap again to record up to 30 seconds of continuous video. To stop recording, press and hold the same button.
There’s a light that will let the person wearing the glasses and people around them know the Specs are recording.
2. They connect to Snapchat
Of course, Spectacles connect to Snap Inc.’s other product: Snapchat.
Snaps taken through Specs save to the product without the use of a phone. But the videos also transfer wirelessly to Snapchat, where they’re saved to Memories. On an iOS device, the videos transfer over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. On Android, they transfer through Wi-Fi. That’s where you can watch the Snaps you recorded while wearing Specs.
3. Specs come in three colors and charge automatically
Specs come in one size and in black, teal or coral. They’re made to look like regular sunglasses, unlike Google Glass, which was mocked for its dorky look.
One charge for the glasses lasts about a day. But the glasses come with a charging case that will juice the Specs automatically when they’re stored. That case provides four more charges until you have to charge the case itself. There’s also a regular cable to charge either the case or the Specs directly.
4. They cost $129.99
Spectacles will be available in a limited run this fall, and they cost $129.99. Compare that to Google Glass, which cost $1,500 when it debuted.
Spectacles aren’t being marketed as the product of the future. Instead, they’re a fun addition to Snapchat that allows you to free up your hands to pet a dog and avoid using your phone like “a wall in front of your face,” as Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel said.
5. For now, they’re a “toy”
Spiegel told the Wall Street Journal that he sees Snap Inc.’s new product as a toy. His company made Specs, he said, “because it’s fun.”
“It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it,” Spiegel told theJournal.
That doesn’t mean Specs don’t have the potential to revolutionize social sharing or wearable tech down the line. But that’s not what Snap is emphasizing at the moment.