Snapchat is losing the “chat.”
The company has been renamed Snap Inc., the Wall Street Journal reported late Friday night. Cleaner, right?
That’s not all: The company will also release video-recording sunglasses called Spectacles this fall. They contain a 115-degree-angle lens that will allow the wearer to record up to 30 seconds of video, a Snap Inc. representative told Mashable, and will cost $129.99. Supplies will be limited, and they’ll come in one-size-fits-all variants of black, teal or coral, the Journal said. Of course, you’ll be able to post your videos directly to the Snapchat app.
Snap Inc. is prepared to move beyond its social-sharing app
The news suggests Snap is stepping up the fight against Facebook, its chief rival. Facebook has invested heavily in virtual reality, and it purchased Oculus VR — the biggest name in embarrassing headsets — for $2 billion in 2014. Spectacles are a much smaller deal, but they prove that Snap Inc. is prepared to move beyond its social-sharing app and into hardware.
And rather than closing people off from the real world, Spectacles are designed to help them participate in it. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel told the Journal that recording video or taking pictures with a phone puts “a wall in front of your face.” Spectacles, on the other hand, will allow wearers to record without holding anything, so they can really show off that brunch or keg stand.
Tearing down that wall makes a whole lot of sense for Snap. While far fewer people use Snapchat than Facebook overall — a reported 150 million every day versus Facebook’s 1.13 billion — the app has recently exploded in popularity across age groups, and it’s become known as the place where people share “intimate” or personal content. Facebook is a bit more buttoned-up: you might run into your aunt there, after all.
Snapchat has something else going for it: It’s cool. Young people use it. Its Spectacles don’t look like dorky Google Glass. As for whether they’ll roll out beyond a limited shipment this fall, the company isn’t making any promises.
“It’s about us figuring out if it fits into people’s lives and seeing how they like it,” Spiegel told the Journal.