Snap, in augmented reality push, launches new Spectacles version

The new Spectacles 3. Image Snap

The new Spectacles 3. Image Snap

The biggest upgrade over the first two generations is undoubtedly the addition of a second HD camera capable of capturing "depth and dimension the way our eyes do".

The parent company of disappearing-photo app Snapchat on Tuesday unveiled the latest iteration of its Spectacles smart glasses - which will now let users record photos and video in 3D.

Spectacles 3 are priced at $380 - 2.5 times the starting $150 price point of the current generation.

Spectacles 3, which will begin shipping in the fall, will cost $380, nearly twice the previous version at $200 apiece. The answer seems to be that Snap, which calls itself a "camera company", sees a strategic need to have a foothold in the content-capture business. The second camera on the glasses is now used for depth sensing, which means Snap can now do a lot of cool AR stuff with the new Spectacles 3. Note that in the third quarter of 2017, Snap took a write-off of almost $40 million related to Spectacles for unsold inventory and excess purchasing commitments.

The new Spectacles, limited edition and with fewer produced than in previous versions, allows Snap to continue experimenting with augmented reality, a key focus for it. The glasses provide a 3D viewer for watching Snaps captured by the Spectacles.

Spectacles 3 will be available in two new colors: Carbon, which is just black, and Mineral, which is like a sheer gold beige. The Spectacles 3 devices also include a four-microphone array and LED indicator lights to notify people when a user is recording. The company will leverage this capability through a new suite of homegrown 3D effects, and sometime later this year, third-party developers will be able to get in on the action with their own custom 3D effects.

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