Big changes are coming to Snapchat. This weekend Snapchat fittingly renamed their company to Snap Inc., which coincides with the announcement of their first hardware product, Spectacles. Snapchat users are no longer tied down to the app on their phones, as the company is branching out to creating a new user experience with the help of other products. Snapchat’s Spectacles will be available for limited purchase later this fall, just in time for the holiday season. Spectacles is Snapchat’s marriage of features from both the Google Glass and the GoPro. Users wear the Snapchat accessory while they are out and about and tap on the side of the glasses if they want to start recording a video. The Spectacles record videos in 10 second increments and sync wirelessly to your smartphone. Users can access their videos in Snapchat Memories and then share them with family and friends.
For the price of $129.99, Spectacles are very affordable compared to the hefty $1,500 price of its competitor, Google Glass. Due to its affordability, people are predicting that Snapchat’s Spectacles could change the way we use Snapchat on our phones, if they’re successful. Photo and video sharing will become hands-free and real-time, and more oriented to the photographer’s perspective. Spectacles are only available in one style, but come in three different color choices: black, teal, and coral. I think that Snapchat’s Spectacles are a really cool concept, but are currently more of a novelty item than a game-changer. Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap Inc., even admits that he sees Spectacles as a “toy” that will enhance the Snapchat user experience. Spectacles will be really popular with the 13-24 year old demographic that Snapchat currently has a strong influence over, but I think that Snapchat will have a harder time branching out to older consumers with the childish look of these glasses. If Spectacles were to be offered in more stylish and mature choices in the future, then I think Snapchat could get older consumers to purchase the product.
In addition to releasing Spectacles this fall, Snapchat is also attempting to revive the short-lived QR code with their version, the Snapcode. Snapcodes have been around on Snapchat for a while as a quick feature for app users to add new friends. All Snapchat users have their own personal Snapcode tied to their account. Snapchat is taking the Snapcode to the next level by partnering with brands to feature Snapcodes on advertisements. Universal Pictures is one of the first companies to test this new feature for Snapchat with an advertisement promoting the release of their new movie, “The Girl on the Train.” QR codes failed because people had to download separate single-purpose apps on their phones in order to read the codes. Snapcodes might be more successful because many people already have the Snapchat app on their phones, and the app has more purpose than just for reading the Snapcodes. What differentiates a Snapcode ad from a regular advertisement is that the Snapcode links users to an “enhanced” advertising experience through the Snapchat app. Users simply scan the Snapcode with their phones and are immediately unlock content for the ad which could include a Snapchat discover article for the movie or an exclusive movie filter.
With the release of Spectacles and Snapcode ads, Snapchat is making big changes this fall in order to stay prominent and relevant. What do you think about all these major changes Snapchat is implementing? Let me know in the comments!