After teasing what smartglasses powered by Snapchat might look like with two product cycles of camera glasses, Snap has now added augmented reality capabilities to its third take on Spectacles.
On Tuesday, the company unveiled Spectacles 3, which packs a pair of temple-mounted cameras that can capture 3D images and video, along with an array of four microphones for capturing audio and LED lights to serve as indicators that recording is underway.
After wirelessly syncing 3D footage to Snapchat, users can add AR effects and then share their captured content with others. A trailer for the glasses shows off a plethora of options, including underwater scenes, showers of sparkles or confetti, rainbow tunnels, and more.
The glasses are available for pre-order on the Spectacles website for $380, with two styles — carbon and mineral. The devices are expected to ship this fall.
Like previous generations, the glasses come with a charging case and cable, with this version capable of charging the Spectacles four times before needing a top off. The full-grain leather case also folds flat when the glasses aren't inside.
Also included is a Google Cardboard-style viewer that allows users to view content in VR via their smartphones.
If there's anything that throws cold water on this news, it's that Spectacles 3 are not water-resistant. But, since underwater AR effects are on the menu, users can at least pretend they submerged them.
After achieving a more fashionable design for Spectacles 2, Snap has produced a hybrid of the first two generations for Spectacles 3, with rounded glasses in wire frames and chunkier temples (likely in order to accommodate the additional tech). Interested parties can virtually try the Spectacles on via the Snapcode below, or on the new Spectacles webpage, to see if the new look is for them.
Reports surfaced in late 2018 of Spectacles with AR capabilities arriving by the end of the year. So, while those rumors appear to have been premature, Snap is nonetheless moving along its roadmap as predicted.
And although Spectacles 3 represents a significant milestone along the way to true smartglasses from Snap, the device is still just a stepping stone toward the ultimate goal. Smartglasses makers like North are already delivering notification information in the user's point of view, and Vuzix's wearables include cameras alongside heads-up displays. Meanwhile, Nreal is preparing to ship tethered smartglasses capable of displaying fully immersive 3D content in physical space.
Compared to the rest of the still-incubating consumer smartglasses market, Snap still has some catching up to do, but a recent offering of $1.1 billion in financing may help them in terms of scaling up operations or acquiring technology. However, the company doesn't have much of a headstart if Apple's rumored smartglasses are still on schedule.