Skip to main content

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Albert Khoury
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Al started his career at a downtown Manhattan publisher, and has since worked with digital and print publications. He's…
Facebook hopes its new Ray-Ban smartglasses will replace your smartphone
Facebook Logo

Facebook is reportedly entering the smartglasses market with its version of augmented reality eyeware -- and it thinks they'll be good enough to replace your phone.

According to CNBC, Facebook has partnered with Luxottica, Ray-Ban’s parent company, to develop a pair of glasses that it hopes would permanently replace smartphones. The glasses, known internally as Orion, would be able to take phone calls, show information via a small display in the frames, and allow people to livestream what they see to social media followers.

Read more
The third generation of Google Glass may be nearly ready for release
google glass patent touchpad batteries woman

It looks like Google hasn't given up on Google Glass just yet. According to a new report from DigiTimes suggests that the third generation of Glass has finished the development stage and is now in pilot production.

The report notes that the 3rd-gen Glass is as light as ever, weighing as little as a pair of regular glasses. There's a catch though -- the battery life will reportedly suffer as a result of the light build. In fact, battery life is so low that users may only get 30 minutes of use in between charges.

Read more
Apple reportedly canceled development of its augmented reality glasses
apple file system

It looks like Apple may have run into some walls with the development of its augmented reality glasses. According to a new report from DigiTimes, Apple "terminated" the development of the new glasses. The report also notes that Apple has instead "temporarily stopped" developing the new tech, so it's unknown if Apple will revisit the idea in the near future or not. It's also important to note that a number of reports cast doubt on the idea that Apple has canceled the project, so it's possible that the report isn't true at all.

Over the past few months, multiple outlets have reported that Apple is working on developing its own augmented reality glasses, including insiders like analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman. The DigiTimes report, however, suggests that the team working on the new glasses was disbanded back in May and assigned to different teams.

Read more