In news that surprises few people outside the company, Snap Inc. has been unable to sell its “Spectacles” video glasses, and it’s stuck with hundreds of thousands of unsold units, according to a report published Monday.
The Information delivered the news, citing “two people close to the company” as saying that the company, formerly known as Snapchat, had “grossly overestimated demand,” and was sitting on “hundreds of thousands of unsold units sitting in warehouses, either fully assembled or in parts.”
Where the report gets interesting is that Snap itself claimed nearly three weeks ago that the product had “exceeded expectations” in selling 150,000 units. It said it was working on a second generation of Spectacles that could incorporate augmented reality technology.
Snap’s Spectacles launched with a lot of self-created fanfare in September 2016. The glasses include integrated video that was claimed to be capable of taking a day’s worth of “Snaps” in a “circular video format,” were synced to the Memories function in Snapchat via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Praised by some in the media as being created by a “marketing genius,” the Spectacles were also described as one of the hottest gifts of Christmas 2016.
Despite apologists, such as a reviewer at USA Today — who actually said, “The video is sketchy, but so what?” — problems with the glasses emerged not long after they were launched. Along with being reportedly terrible in low light, the glasses were also said to fail at nearly every other aspect they were designed for, including smartphone syncing, battery life and video quality.
But perhaps the most important and often overlooked part of the product by tech reviewers was the most obvious one: Wearing them makes you look like … well, let’s just say that they’re the worst-looking thing you could put on your face since Google Glass.
Snap itself is in a world of bother for other reasons as well. The company is struggling to compete with the Facebook Inc.-owned Instagram, which has basically copied all of Snapchat’s best features, implemented them better and, as a result, is stealing Snap’s users.
The company went public in February on a reduced valuation, disclosing in its initial public offering prospectus that it may never be profitable. Squandering millions on ugly, dysfunctional video glasses liked by no one outside the Bay Area, if anywhere, appears to make that assertion look like more of a promise.Photo: Snap
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