Snapchat Spectacles 2.0?
What’s that saying – “if first you don’t succeed try, try again?” It looks like Snapchat is taking the advice to heart with the disclosure that it’s taking another run at Spectacles. According to the company’s recent FCC filing its working on a next gen iteration of the infamous AR glasses. According to reports the latest version has worked out the bugs that hurt its predecessor, will have a faster processing speed, and could feature two different cameras by 2019 – one for each eye? These new enhancements come with a heftier price tag too. Early price point estimates are around $300 per pair, compared to $175 for first generation Spectacles.
This one is sort of a head scratcher for me. Snapchat got burned pretty badly on their first attempt. The original Spectacles were going to succeed in a way Google Glass couldn’t because they’d link Snapchat’s in-app Lens functionality to the real world and open up a whole new AR universe for its users. Snapchat’s PR machine teed up a ton of pre-launch buzz, and the geekarazzi was in a lather to get their hands (make that eyes) on a pair. Then a little called reality set in, and what happened next wasn’t pretty. As documented by TechCrunch at the time, Snapchat Spectacles were plagued by a five month launch delay, poor manufacturing quality, a lack of AR content, and a “shockingly low retention rate” in which three out of four owners stopped using their Spectacles within the first week. So nobody used these things. As a result Snapchat had to write down $40M worth of unsold Spectacles inventory off their books in Q1’18.
With that kind of colossal failure why would Evan Spiegel and team make another run at Spectacles? For their sake I hope the other saying about “the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again” doesn’t hold true.