Making a Spectacle: Snap may release two new versions of its smartglasses

Despite a glut of unsold Spectacles last year, Snap Inc. is bringing back not one, but two new versions of its smart specs. A report from Cheddar reveals that this year Snap will be releasing a follow-up to the Spectacles that were initially released in late 2016. A more high-end pair of glasses sporting two cameras will ship next year. According to “people familiar with the matter,” Spectacles 2.0 should be out by fall.

Cheddar reports that its sources did not want their identities revealed.

The first wave of new specs are being incrementally updated, with new colors, water resistance, and improvements to performance.

The third-gen Spectacles will get a complete overhaul, GPS, and two new cameras to view videos with 3D depth. An aluminium frame, leather case, and more circular lens frames are also reportedly in the works. This pair will cost you $300 — compare this to the $130 price tag for the current Spectacles.

It wasn’t long ago that Snap reported a $40 million loss as a result of its Spectacles’ poor market performance, so you wonder why the company would have a second (and third) go at it. Is it possible that news of Apple, Amazon, Streye, and others releasing their own smart eyewear can at least partially be credited for Snap’s latest entry in the wearable market?

Snap’s hardware arm, Snap Lab, has not fared so well since the original Spectacles debut. A deal to buy Chinese drone maker Zero Zero fell flat the following year, adding more acrimony. Layoffs and trouble with the company brass followed.

Snap also sought to license its cameras to be placed in glasses from other companies, such as Luxottica and Warby Parker. Cheddar reported that it did not hear back from either of these companies.

Augmented reality has been a hot topic for some time now, and it is being implemented in various forms by Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Google, and numerous other companies. Snapchat itself has its own AR Lenses. Newer Spectacles may support these lenses in addition to Snapchat’s Bitmoji avatars.

Snap has the experience of going through a major setback with its first Spectacles release, and we can only watch and wait to see if it takes those lessons to heart the next time (and the next time) around.

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