In the coming weeks, Snapchat plans to begin selling sunglasses that have a small camera capable of recording 10-second video clips.
The high-tech shades will cost $130 and mark the app maker’s first crack at hardware, the Wall Street Journal Magazine reported late Friday. Snapchat Chief Executive Evan Spiegel told the publication that Spectacles are a toy, meant to be worn for fun at events like family barbecues or while on a hike.
The camera contains a 115-degree-angle lens, recording a wider field of view than typical for smartphones. The videos that result are circular instead of rectangular, making them more like human vision, the magazine reported. Users tap a button near the hinge to record clips, which download wirelessly to smartphones.
Snapchat didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Spiegel said the rollout of Spectacles would be slow and limited as the company figures out they fit into people’s lives. More than 150 million people worldwide use Snapchat.
The Venice company’s foray into hardware had been the subject of rumors for month. Tech analysts speculated that the company would release glasses with a display, providing a digital overlay on people’s normal view of the world. That may still be in the works, though some wearable technology veterans doubt that Snapchat has grander ambitions than a wearable camera.
“I think the buck stops there,” Kayvan Mirza, chief executive of smart glasses maker Optinvent, said this week.
But even Spectacles is a bold move, coming only a few years after Google pulled back from Glass because consumers voiced privacy concerns about the eyewear’s camera.
Many of the societal questions Glass raised remain unanswered. The teenagers and young adults who make up most of Snapchat’s users may skip past those concerns quickly for a product tied to a brand they cherish. Patrick Worfolk, senior vice president and chief technology officer…