Google Glass was an abject failure, but the world likes wearable products of quality. Snap's Spectacles have been marketed expertly and it seems that the product itself delivers on the hype. Snap is the new Apple.
Not every company is perfect, and the same thing goes for tech companies.Apple failed with its Newton PDA, infamously described as "that scribble thing" when Steve Jobs returned to the company and quickly shut it down. More recently, Google Glass was so bad it still beggars this writer's belief that it was even allowed outside a laboratory.The buzz around Snapchat's Spectacles, however, has been different. This might be the wearable and relevant product that Google got so wrong. If the marketing has been anything to go by, Snapchat has played it exactly right.Its first Snapbot kiosk appeared on Venice Beach and close to the company's headquarters. Nothing that happens on Venice Beach seems out of place because the whole promenade is a parade of strange and interesting people and things. A bright yellow kiosk dispensing bright yellow spectacles is nothing unusual.Other Snapbots appeared further up the Californian coast at Big Sur, and then at random places such as Catoosa, Oklahoma and Tallahassee, Florida. The Snapbots contained around 200 pairs costing $130 each, and lucky buyers were quickly making huge margins on eBay.So, the marketing battle was a winner, what about the Spectacles themselves? Do they live up to the hype? Will they change the world and will an innovative social media platform make the move into hardware without staining its reputation?At first look, the signs aren't that good. Coming in a see-through cylinder, the Spectacles resemble a pack of three tennis balls, look unwieldy and anything but cool.That impression, however, changes once they the Spectacles are decanted from the cylinder. Looking like an oversized, and very yellow, sunglasses hard case, there is something about them that is a reminder of what Snapchat is to its young demographic: a whole lot of fun.On opening, the Spectacles nestle comfortably in their hard case and a glowing sign on the left of the Spectacles shows they are being charged by the case itself. A nifty and unobtrusive charger comes with the case, so 10/10 for brand packaging. It's easy to stroke the case and love doing so. Apple lovers have had similar experiences for years.As for user experience, the process is simple. The Snap app quickly pairs the Spectacles with a user ID and they are ready for use within five minutes of being taken out of the packaging.From that point, it's easy. Just press a button above the left lens and live video is broadcast to a user's followers. Once a camera company, always a camera company, but video is what will make a Snap user (and content producer) more attractive to consumers.At a price point that is low enough for most of its users, Spectacles have a huge future. While these users are unlikely to be interested, or know anything about, Snap's upcoming IPO, this product is unlikely to disappear like Snapchat's original content.Spectacles would have taken Google Glass iteration after iteration to get right and its design and marketing mark Snap as the new Apple. There were no adverts in this year's Super Bowl for Snap's Spectacles, but there may well be next year.Apple's resurgence was marked by a 1984 advert during that event, and expect its natural successor to do the same in 2018. Snap's Spectacles are here to stay. Its future is bright, the world's going to wear shades.
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