2 years ago
Snap Inc., the company behind popular social media platform Snapchat, is rolling out its first hardware product in a surprisingly low-tech manner: vending machines. Snap’s “Spectacles” come loaded with an onboard camera capable of filming 10-second video clips.
After first presenting the Spectacles product in September 2016, the Snapchat developer is now surprising eager customers with popup vending machines that seem to have an instant, endless line. Selling for $130 a pop, Snap’s Spectacles are incredibly easy to use, with a mere tap on the left side to start recording.
The glasses allow wearers to capture and share moments with friends from their own point of view. They offer a 115-degree field of view and can connect to smartphones running Android and iOS over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The videos can then be posted directly to Snapchat.
Eschewing traditional retail shelves, Snap has created buzz by selling its Spectacles in what they’re calling “Snapbots.” These mobile vending machines move to various locations and can be spotted via the Spectacles’ own website.
For the moment, Snapbots will only be traveling within the U.S. One was spotted last week near the famous Santa Monica Pier in California, while another popped up Nov. 21 at the corner of Fifth Avenue next to the Apple store in New York City. A few Snapbots have even been delivered to remote locations such as the Grand Canyon.
Edward Baig, a tech reporter for USA Today, braved the line behind the latest Snapbot to pop up in Manhattan. Here’s Baig:
“With only one Snapbot in the store, we still had a long wait, but at least it was more comfortable. The other thing that slowed things down was that several people had their credit cards denied because of potential fraud; Snap set up a separate line so that these people could call their credit card issuers and try again. Folks could buy up to two pairs of Spectacles, but had to handle each transaction separately. And at one point, Snap had to restock the machines, which they did behind a curtain.”
— Niv Dror (@Nivo0o0) November 21, 2016
It remains to be seen whether Snap’s Spectacles will be sold in a more conventional manner and internationally. (A secondary market for the Spectacles has already opened up on eBay, with a pair of the products selling for $1,550.) Snap has clearly created immense buzz around its first physical product, and that’s a big step in the right direction for a xx company that just recently filed a $25 billion IPO.
Read Baig’s full account of his Snapbot experience here.
—Relaxnews with additional reporting by the RealClearLife staff