Spectacles version 2.0 is here.
Snapchat unveiled a new version of its video recording sunglasses on Thursday, a slightly smaller, water-resistant pair that costs $149.99.
The new Spectacles look incredibly similar to Snap’s original glasses, which it rolled out in late 2016 and sold through vending machines at launch. You can’t buy the new pair at a vending machine — only at Snapchat’s own website, Spectacles.com — but they offer a few new features that the original pair never had.
- You can take a picture with the new Spectacles. The original version only recorded video.
- The new Spectacles are water-resistant up to 1 meter deep and for about 30 minutes at a time, according to a spokesperson. That makes sense for a pair of sunglasses that you’d ideally like to wear to the pool or beach.
- The hardware is higher quality. All images and videos are captured in HD, and Snapchat added a second speaker to the glasses to pick up more audio. The company also says you can transfer videos and pictures to your phone up to four times faster than the original pair.
- There are new colors: onyx (black), ruby (red) and sapphire (blue), as well as new lenses. The colors aren’t as bright as the original version, which might make them more appealing to people who want to wear glasses without being quite so loud about it.
Spectacles have been an interesting business endeavor for Snap. The glasses don’t provide any meaningful revenue for the company — 97 percent of Snap’s revenue in 2017 was from advertising. And despite a mad dash to get the Spectacles when they first came out thanks to some brilliant marketing, demand for video recording sunglasses wasn’t very high. The company says it sold 220,000 pairs of the original Spectacles, but actually had to take a one-time, $40 million bath after ordering excess inventory.
“Ultimately we made the wrong decision,” CEO Evan Spiegel said at the time. “We’re learning from it.”
But Snapchat has a grand vision for Spectacles, even if it’s not evident right now. Snapchat is a camera company, and Spectacles are ultimately a camera. There will come a time where you might not use a camera on your smartphone, but instead a camera on your face. Snapchat is preparing for that world by starting its hardware efforts early.
One difference you might notice between this pair of Spectacles and Snap’s original pair is how the company markets them. The original Spectacles were treated more like a fashion statement — they were hard to get, they came in super bright colors, and Snap advertised for them on billboards and even luggage bins at airports all around the country.
The push now appears to be more about the content that you can create with Spectacles than how you look when wearing them. Snap’s promotional videos show people wearing the glasses in all kinds of social settings where a phone might be more invasive. The videos describe the glasses as “Your hands-free camera.” In a conversation with Snap’s head of hardware Mark Randall, the company emphasized how a goal is to get people using them more frequently — one of the reasons faster uploading was an important upgrade for the new version.
What’s still unclear is who will want to buy them. Will original Spectacle owners care to upgrade? Are the new features enough to lure in people who weren’t willing to try the original pair? Snapchat claims it doesn’t have a sales target with these glasses, and it’s clear they aren’t an important part of Snap’s business strategy right now.
But Snap still wants people to buy them, wear them and get comfortable with the idea of having a camera on their face. It’s unclear if Spectacles 2.0 offer enough incentive for people to do that right now.
The new glasses are on sale at Spectacles.com in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and France beginning Thursday morning. They’ll roll out to another 13 countries next week.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.