Snapchat announces a redesigned Spectacles collection of sunglasses, with a hefty price tag

Snap doesn’t plan to stop making smart sunglasses.

Snapchat’s parent company, Snapchat, announced Spectacles 3 on Tuesday. This latest version of its video-recording glasses comes with 3D effects and a price tag that is eye-popping. The device will ship in the fall but can be pre-ordered now for $380. This is more than twice the price of the previous version.

This move comes just three years after Snapchat launched its first pair of glasses, which were initially sold in vending machine machines. The Spectacles went viral and people waited for hours to buy them. They were sold by resellers on eBay for over $900. The hype was short-lived and the company had to write down nearly $40 million for excess inventory.

Snap (SNAP), took a second shot at Spectacles last spring. They had a similar design to the original pair but were smaller and more water-resistant.

The product has been redesigned with a slimmer, more modern look, round lenses, and 3D cameras. The glasses allow users to take photos and videos using the same button that was on their predecessors. They can also be transferred to Snapchat by tapping the button on the frame. The dual HD cameras on the Spectacles are designed to capture depth and dimension in 3D the same way the human eye.

Snapchat teased new special effects that users can add to their “Snaps with Spectacles” in a teaser video posted on social media. It showed videos with an augmented reality stingray or bright pink bird overlayed on top.

The company envisions a future in which computing, such as augmented realities, will be overlaid on the environment around you, rather than being limited to a small screen. Snapchat’s AR filters are well-known. These allow users to add virtual dog ears and flower crowns to photos and videos.

The older models were available in bright colors such as orange and blue. However, the new model is now available in black and “mineral”, a rose-gold color.

Snap could be learning from its mistakes. Snap stated that Spectacles 3 will be a limited-edition product and that it will produce fewer of the new sunglasses in the future.

Despite the initial failure of Spectacles – as well as the failure of Google Glass for consumers – the tech industry continues to invest in smart glasses. Google now offers augmented reality glasses to businesses, and Apple is believed to be working on AR glasses.

Internet companies such as Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG), and Facebook (FB) are actively seeking to diversify their revenue streams by selling hardware products. This allows them to become even more integrated into the lives of their users. Facebook (FB) recently entered hardware with its video-chatting Portal device.

Principal analyst at eMarketer, Debra Aho Williamson, praised Snap’s willingness to continue to explore AR. However, she said that this new version of Spectacles is unlikely “to have mass appeal.”

She stated that Snapchat users will be turned off by the high price and confusing interface.

After a difficult 2018, Snap is rebounding after a badly-received redesign. Snapchat saw 13 million new daily users in its last quarter. This ended a long period of low growth and pushed its total user base to over 200 million for the first time.

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