Social Media

Snapchat's Spectacles Make a Splash

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Snapchat this past fall introduced its first hardware product: Spectacles.

The company planted a vending "bot" near its headquarters in Venice Beach, Calif, to sell the sunglasses called Spectacles, digital glasses which capture people's experiences and transmit the videos to its app. The glasses sell for $130.

People stepped into the bot's field of view and used the screen to virtually try on the glasses in different colors before choosing. The screen uses the same technology that Snapchat's app uses to bring animated lenses to selfies. Lenses are a form of augmented reality that decorate videos.

Agencies like VaynerMedia lined up to snatch them up. VaynerMedia picked up five pairs of Spectacles in California, and flew some out to the New York office to get shooting right away. They helped Sour Patch Kids and Esquire Network post videos to their Snapchat accounts.

People lined up Nov. 22 at a midtown Manhattan pop-up store containing a vending machine selling Snapchat's new Spectacles, glasses configured to take pictures and shoot video.

Consumers first heard of the arrival of one of the machines, which Snap Inc. is deployed for short stops around the country to build buzz for Spectacles, through Twitter and YouTube. Enthusiasts rushed to get a taste of the latest thing in social media technology. The demand was so great that anyone who showed up after 12:30 p.m. was turned away

Eric Lee, founder of Hudly, a company that markets heads-up displays for cars and phones, waited in line for over four hours. "It's both my own personal need to see new gadgets and any other business opportunities that come from it," he said.

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