Sunday 18 August 2019

Snap happy: US social network to revive AR glasses after $40m flop

Tech vision: Snap has confirmed the launch of Spectacles 3, a new version of its AR sunglasses
Tech vision: Snap has confirmed the launch of Spectacles 3, a new version of its AR sunglasses
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Snap, the owner of the popular youth social media platform Snapchat, is having another go at making augmented reality sunglasses that can capture photos and video, and upload the content to the online service.

The move is an attempt to turn around the fortunes of the Californian tech company's hardware division.

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In Ireland, Snapchat is the most popular social messaging service among teenagers and children, ahead of Instagram. In 2017, it tried to introduce a pair of augmented reality sunglasses but took a loss of $40m (€36m) on the venture, with hundreds of thousands of unsold pairs of glasses.

The production run will be smaller for its new Spectacles 3 version, allowing Snap to continue experimenting with augmented reality, a key focus for the company.

Spectacles 3, which will begin shipping in the autumn, will cost €340, almost twice the €180 cost of the previous version.

It will have dual cameras to add depth and dimension to photos and videos.

After uploading content to Snapchat, users can add new lighting, landscapes and three-dimensional effects to images, Snap said.

Snap gained fame among users in part through its AR features, including lenses that can overlay effects like dog ears on photos, or even change a user's gender in images. The company added 13 million users in the second quarter, of which seven to nine million were from the new AR lenses, Snap said.

Last week, Snap said it would raise $1.1bn in debt to fund further investments in AR, content and possible acquisitions.

Irish Independent

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