Ephemeral messaging service Snapchat has played its hand, showing a wider strategy beyond its core messaging app with the unveiling of its secretive venture into hardware.
Following a sweeping rebrand that saw web domains and social media counts renamed as Snap Inc, company chief executive Evan Spiegel has revealed Spectacles – a pair of $130 sunglasses with an embedded video camera.
Aping a minor feature boasted by Google Glass, the product looks to be focused only capturing moments, a mantra the company has been built upon. Footage captured on the specs is sent to the Snapchat app, transferred via Bluetooth of Wi-Fi, to memories where the footage can now be viewed in all orientations via a new format.
The company said it had been working on the project for years, creating one of the smallest wireless cameras in the world. The Spectacles are available in three colours and can reportedly operate for a full day on a single charge.
Showing its confidence in the new brand, via its new @Snap Twitter account, the company retweeted negative criticism.
On the rebrand, here is Evan Speigel’s full statement: “It has been five years since Bobby and I started working on Picaboo, the little app that became Snapchat – and we’ve been so lucky to build an incredible team that has continued to expand upon Snapchat and create products like Stories, Memories, Lenses, and so much more!
“When we were just getting started it made sense to name our company Snapchat Inc., because Snapchat was our only product! Now that we are developing other products, like Spectacles, we need a name that goes beyond just one product – but doesn’t lose the familiarity and fun of our team and brand. We decided to drop the “chat” and go with Snap Inc!
“Changing our name also has another benefit: when you search for our products it will be easier to find relevant product information rather than boring company information or financial analysis. You can search Snapchat or Spectacles for the fun stuff and leave Snap Inc. for the Wall Street crowd.
“We hope that this change will improve your experience with Snapchat and Spectacles, and create a structure that allows us to continue making great new products for you and your friends.”
The move certainly helps differentiate Snapchat from rival Facebook that earlier this week had to admit it had overstated engagement on its video views.