Snapchat, the company that has pushed an ephemeral messaging app for the past few years, today unveiled a new name for itself, Snap Inc. It also unveiled a second product: glasses called Spectacles that feature a camera that captures video you can immediately share through a connected mobile device. (Only through the Snapchat app, of course.)
“When you slip Spectacles on and tap a button near the hinge, it records up to 10 seconds of video from your first-person vantage. Each new tap records another clip,” the Journal reported, noting that the glasses will cost $130 and see a limited distribution beginning this fall. Videos can be as long as 30 seconds total if you attach multiple segments.
Spectacles charge while inside their special case, just like Apple’s recently unveiled AirPods. The charging cable can charge both the glasses and the case. One charge of the glasses, which will be available in three colors, will give you one day’s worth of video recordings, and the case will deliver an additional four charges.
Videos will be recorded in a new circular format that friends will be able to play back on any device. On phones and tablets, they’ll keep playing smoothly without changing orientation as you rotate the devices. On iOS, the glasses will transfer videos over Bluetooth by default, and high-resolution recordings will go over Wi-Fi. On Android only, a Wi-Fi option will be available.
This is the “first” hardware product from Snapchat — er, Snap — the Journal said. That, coupled with the name change, means the Snapchat that people have come to associate with shameless sharing is transforming into something different, something more mature and complicated.
Here’s how Snapchat chief executive Evan Spiegel explained the name change in a blog post:
When we were just getting started it made sense to name our company Snapchat Inc., because Snapchat was our only product! Now that we are developing other products, like Spectacles, we need a name that goes beyond just one product – but doesn’t lose the familiarity and fun of our team and brand.
We decided to drop the “chat” and go with Snap Inc!
Changing our name also has another benefit: when you search for our products it will be easier to find relevant product information rather than boring company information or financial analysis. You can search Snapchat or Spectacles for the fun stuff and leave Snap Inc. for the Wall Street crowd :)
Spectacles are more about capturing media than consuming it, so they’re not quite the 2016 version of Google Glass. But they do hark back to the head-mounted device that put a tiny display next to one of your eyes. The question today is whether many people will be willing to wear these glasses in public and risk getting them ripped off their faces.
Then again, you’ve also got to wonder what’s coming next from the company.
Snapchat Snap raised a $1.81 billion funding round earlier this year.