I've never been a huge fan of Snapchat. Sure when it first came out it was quite cool, but the novelty quickly wore off. Since Instagram has built in 'Stories' in their latest update, which essentially is exactly what Snapchat does, I wondered if this would spell the beginning of the end.
As it ends up, far from it! Snapchat has instead attempted to reinvent itself by renaming its company Snap Inc. and launching its first product, Spectacles, a pair of sunglasses with a built-in video camera. Check out the new logos below:
So with this they are positioning themselves as a 'camera company' rather than any kind of social sharing portal which Snapchat was previously perceived. The familiar black, white and yellow remain. However, Snap Inc has its own wordmark unique from Snapchat using a serif typeface which I think works nicely. It's not setting the world on fire but it serves its purpose as the 'parent' company for its products.
The wordmark for Spectacles also works (even if it does look like an opticians logo, but hey, maybe thats the point). Here's where it starts to unravel for me. You use a serif typeface for the parent company but then refer to a sans serif when referring to the company underneath your product. Where's the consistency? Would you see the likes of Apple or Samsung being this inconsistent in a product market? Or Facebook and Instagram in the social media market?
The logo icon that has been created for Spectacles is clean and minimalistic reminiscent of Instagram's recent refresh which is not a bad thing. And when seen with the product it maes even more sense. Speaking of which...
Available in three colours, the glasses are “capable of storing a day’s worth of Snaps on a single charge,” says Snap Inc, and connects directly to Snapchat via Bluetooth or Wifi, without the need to connect to a phone. Ten or 30 seconds of video is captured by tapping a button on the top left of the frames which displays LED lights so others know you're filming.
From a design perspective, they actually look quite cool and are a lot more 'retro' than the Google Glass effort (remember them?). The field view of 115 degrees means the glasses capture circular videos—kind of like a GoPro for your face. This is pretty cool as it means the footage will fit both portrait and landscape mode which means it will fill the screen, depending on how the phone is held. And users will also be able to toggle between modes to see different perspectives.
The price will be a reported $130 when they launch (which means you may as well change the $ to a £ sign for the UK market) which is a hell of a lot cheaper than when Google Glass first came out.
Saying that, there's one problem with the glasses... they will ONLY work with Snapchat! If only they would have opened this up from the start, they could have really changed the game with how we take day-to-day photos.
Prehaps, as Snap Inc evolves, it will open the potential to use Spectacles as a content capture device without the need for Snapchat. I mean, look at what it could do for the advertising industry if they could port unique video content that would work in any format. It's likely that brands will embrace them.
Now I wonder if, in the future, they'll cater for people who require prescription lenses?