Redefining wearables: Fashionable designs matter

Here at Claro we are always on the lookout for good examples of disruption in the area of innovation. This week we were presented with the release of a wearable from a once small startup that has grown to become mainstream in a big way and ignores buyout deals from Facebook.

Snapchat, the image messaging mobile app with 150 million daily users, unveiled their first hardware product earlier this month, Spectacles: fashionable sunglasses that allow users to record short videos which can then be uploaded to their phones and shared with their friends.

The device can be found in Snapbots, vending machines which have been strategically placed around the US and will only stay in one location for a day. This is a smart move from Snapchat, as scarcity has proven to be a highly successful tactic for Fashion companies in the past, as it generates an overflow of excitement on the part of consumers.

Many people are probably wondering why they should care about Spectacles? What’s changed since the time when the ill-fated Google Glass first made an appearance? Rightly so, since the Google glasses failed to take off and never made it past a select group of early adopters.

What’s different this time around is that with this product, Snapchat has shown that they’ve taken the time to understand their users, and they are looking at wearables as a fashion item and not tech.

This is clearly reflected in the design. Not only does the product offer great functionality (it’s easy to use and comes with a case that allows charging), it’s also being endorsed by the fashion world, as shown by the photoshoot Karl Lagerfeld did earlier this year. This is essential, as we’re still in a time when wearables are often considered too techie and intimidating.

In contrast to Google Glass, Spectacles are moderately priced at $130.00, which isn’t too steep for trendy looking sunglasses which also let users record videos hands-free and at eye level. If you add that there’s a limited amount being sold in itinerant locations, the end result is a highly sought after product.

At Claro we emphasise the need for companies to understand their users and offer products or services that they’ll genuinely value. In other words, they need to find unmet needs and wants versus forcing technology that isn’t necessary or visibly useful.

The Snapchat Spectacles are a great example of a product that’s not looking to change anyone’s life. But it could be a great stepping stone in the adoption of wearables, a technology which is still struggling to find mass adoption.  Let’s hope more companies like Snapchat come to this realisation.


Nov 29, 2016