Snap Planning to Release Updated Spectacles Later This Year

Snap Inc. is planning to launch a second version of its video recording glasses this fall followed by a more ambitious version in 2019 that will include two cameras and other features. In addition to new colors and water resistance, the second version aims to fix bugs and provide needed performance improvements. The potential price tag would be around $300, which is more than double the $130 cost of the first version. News of additional versions comes just months after Snap announced it lost $40 million on the original.

For its third version, Snap has prototyped “an aluminum design with more circular lens frames and two cameras that would allow for 3D-like depth effects in videos,” reports Cheddar. Additionally, it’s considered adding built-in GPS and a leather case.

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After an initial surge in interest and excitement in Spectacles when they premiered in 2016, internal Snap data showed that users stopped using the device regularly after just a few weeks.

But despite that and a variety of internal setbacks, including missing internal deadlines for the second Spectacles rollout, the Snap team continues pushing ahead with its plan to put cameras into a variety of products.

To help make this happen, it spent $47 million on acquisitions in 2016, including quietly buying the Colorado-based company FiveFocal, an acquisition that “gave Snap roughly a dozen experts in building software that can prototype the designs of advanced camera technology in different form factors,” notes Cheddar.

But Snap is not only interested in putting its own cameras into its own Spectacles. In recent months, it’s considered partnering with companies like Luxottica and Warby Parker to place cameras into their glasses.

According to Cheddar, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has publicly stated that selling hardware will be an important part of the business in a decade or so. This is largely because he sees augmented reality as the next paradigm shift in personal computing. And Snap is not alone in this belief. Most leading tech companies, from Apple to Facebook, are working on similar AR eyewear.