Snapchat has launched ‘Spectacles’ a pair of smart sunglasses with a built-in camera, as the messaging app moves into hardware for the first time.
The device will go on sale later this year priced at $130 (£100) and will only record up to 30 seconds of video at a time.
As part of the announcement, Snapchat is renaming itself Snap, Inc. The renaming decision underlined the company’s apparent ambition to go beyond the ephemeral messaging app, a product which is highly popular with young people.
The glasses will have a limited release at first, Snap said
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said: “It was our first vacation, and we went to [Californian state park] Big Sur for a day or two. We were walking through the woods, stepping over logs, looking up at the beautiful trees. And when I got the footage back and watched it, I could see my own memory, through my own eyes – it was unbelievable.
“It’s one thing to see images of an experience you had, but it’s another thing to have an experience of the experience. It was the closest I’d ever come to feeling like I was there again.”
On Saturday, Snap released some limited information about how the glasses will work.
Footage will be recorded in a new, circular format which can be viewed in any orientation, the company said. The battery on the device will last about a day.
Content recorded using the glasses is automatically pushed to the Memories section of the Snapchat application in a new circular video format — which can be played full screen in any orientation — via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Snapchat just solved the portrait vs landscape video argument forever pic.twitter.com/iOsKeaeXkb
— Owen Williams⚡️ (@ow) September 24, 2016
A light on the front of the device will indicate to people nearby when the glasses are recording.
Prior to confirmation from Snap about the product, news website Business Insider published a promotional video it found on YouTube showing the product. The video has since been taken down.