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Snapchat Reportedly Stuck With 'Hundreds of Thousands' of Unsold Spectacles (theverge.com) 63

According to The Information, Snapchat expected demand for its camera-equipped glasses known as Spectacles to continue after the holidays and ordered "hundreds of thousands" of additional units. But demand didn't pick up after the company opened up its sales to a wider audience, leaving those units to collect dust in warehouses. The Verge reports: It's not known exactly how many Spectacles have been sold so far, but from the sound of it, Snap may have dramatically over-ordered units of its debut hardware device. Earlier this month, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said the company had sold "over 150,000 units," which sounds pretty bad in the context of having hundreds of thousands sitting around waiting to be sold; although The Information says that figure includes unassembled units with parts that could potentially be used in other products. Spiegel has tried to paint Spectacles as both relatively successful and merely an early start in hardware. He claims they outsold Apple's first iPod -- a comparison clearly meant to suggest they could eventually have enormous success. But Spiegel also said hardware would really only be important to Snap a decade from now.
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Snapchat Reportedly Stuck With 'Hundreds of Thousands' of Unsold Spectacles

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  • by fisted ( 2295862 )

    Well too bad. Sucks to be you.

  • Seriously, I've never seen those things for sale anywhere, and I don't care enough to search them out, but I was interested enough that I might have bought them when the first came out. On the other hand I don't use snapchat, so maybe you have to order them off the website. Whatever.

    • Same thing here. They made it too inclusive and thought people are gonna chase after them forever. They were cool but not cool enough to make me check every 2 days if there is a place nearby. Took way too long for them to make it online.PLUS came to Europe waaay later. I've just realized it is available online now. And even if it is available language is geo-based and you're not allowed to change. not everybody lives in US and not everybody speaks the language of the country they live in. ux fail for sure.
    • No shit. Back when they were trying to hype it in the web media, someone reported said he had to wait in line to get one from a vending machine in New York or something. Was it that hard to make an online store for something like this? Or even sell them in Amazon from the get go?
      https://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/2... [cnbc.com]

      Like any novelty item you would expect something that was released almost a year ago to have little willing customers left by now. They need to do a product refresh it they want to sell more.

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Monday October 23, 2017 @06:51PM (#55420799)

    What a spectacle they've made of themselves with their ambitions dashed.

  • Tech is supposed to be sexy. You're doing it wrong.

    • Eh, they're no uglier than the Pixel 2.

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday October 23, 2017 @07:05PM (#55420855) Journal

    Are they compatible with all those ET game cartridges in landfill? [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    He claims they outsold Apple's first iPod

    What a bizarre comparison, comparing sales of a music player to their camera glasses.
    How is that even relevant ?

    It'd be like Andrex comparing their toilet roll sales to iPod sales and shouting out "woohoo we're more successful than Apple"

  • Ordinarily I'd say that nothing of value was lost; but the raw materials now converted into snapchat spectacles could definitely have been put to more inspiring use.
  • by known_coward_69 ( 4151743 ) on Monday October 23, 2017 @07:42PM (#55420967)

    has to be the only explanation for why this turd got funding

    • Yes, I've heard microdosing is popular in California right now. So you might not be far away from the truth.

  • by xeno ( 2667 ) on Monday October 23, 2017 @07:53PM (#55420999)
    The comparison to the iPod is backwards -- snap did precisely every wrong thing. By contrast, Apple works hard to create a broad-market appeal: even if the product is drenched in hipster niche mystique, everyone and I mean EVERYONE hears about it. Then they manufacture and stock the item, no matter what it is, for something like 60-80% of the expected actual sales on the first go. This ensures it's enough to get in the hands of someone you know even if you can't get it yourself... while also creating an artificial scarcity to ensure the perception of demand. The secondary manufacturing waves then kick in, according to actual orders, and they coast from one relatively successful debut to another.

    Snap, on the other hand... did everything wrong. I'm the target market for damn near every stupid doodad, but I didn't hear ANYTHING about it because it was marketed within snapchat as if it were a limited upsell only to dedicated snapchat users.. because they designed it to be unusable to anyone not already sold on the service. Then they put all their eggs into the initial manufacturing run rather than a calculated step-by-step ramp up. What a fuck-up. Did no one inside Snap think to make it enticing the other way around -- to make it usable for non-chat users but so much cooler if you signed up for Snapchat? Did they soft-open to create sufficient buzz? Did they advertise ANYWHERE outside their own underpants?

    SHM, if you were designing a product failure, they ticked every box except for the one where the glasses light on fire.
    That's next week, undoubtedly -- after they firesale and start shipping swollen li-ion batteries that have been discharging in a hot warehouse for months.
    • Maybe the glasses were designed to sell at a loss or at a very low margin to build the brand of the Snapchat app/site and they couldn't afford for people to buy them for use by non-chat users.

      A book will come out about it in a few years and it will all become clear.

      • Maybe the glasses were designed to sell at a loss or at a very low margin to build the brand of the Snapchat app/site and they couldn't afford for people to buy them for use by non-chat users.

        LOL.

        The 2000s called, they want their CueCats back.

      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        Maybe the glasses were designed to sell at a loss or at a very low margin to build the brand of the Snapchat app/site and they couldn't afford for people to buy them for use by non-chat users.

        That would make sense... if the Snapchat brand needed such exposure. This is exactly the opposite. The product was made and expected to sell due to the existing high recognition of the Snapchat brand and existing app userbase, but the product wasn't that interesting and people are happy with current space of the Snapchat brand (smartphone apps).

        The company is trying to branch out into something with a more concrete revenue stream and failed.

    • At the time, Apple didn't have the broad-market appeal you speak of. I remember it distinctly because I heard on the radio while driving to work that Apple stock had fallen to $22. Some long-forgotten memory cell in my brain fired up and asked "wasn't that the price it IPO'ed at?" (it was, before stock splits). So I did a bunch of research into Apple with the idea of buying some of its stock. They were a has-been computer company whose most popular product was a computer built into a CRT monitor which y
      • Actually I thought Apple would do fine ever since they bought NeXT and announced they were going to replace MacOS with a NeXT derived operating system. Apple was selling the Mac equivalent of Windows 3.1 with a beautified UI in 1996. It took them until 1999 to get MacOS X in working condition (develop the Blue Box and Carbon, etc). Around that time I was using Windows 2000. The first iPod never exactly took off because, like you said, it's not like it was the only MP3 player in the market, and it used a Fir

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Monday October 23, 2017 @08:27PM (#55421077)

    When you distribute new hardware, even cheap hardware, to the masses make sure it actually does something that said masses find useful.

    • Recently threw away a brand new CueCat. Worked at RadioShack in the '90s and we gave them away like candy.
      • by Kiralan ( 765796 )
        They weren't half-bad as a barcode scanner for the time, once you put the jumper in to unencrypt the output.
    • by Syberz ( 1170343 )
      I actually paid for a CueCat, albeit a decrypted one, and then used it to catalog my DVD collection (it was much easier to scan the bar codes on the cover than typing that stuff in by hand). That useless gadget became useful for some, I wonder if the same can be said of the Spectacles?
    • The spectacles were like $120. Not exactly an impulse buy... [Still have my CueCat, BTW...]
  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Monday October 23, 2017 @08:52PM (#55421181)

    >"Snapchat expected demand for its camera-equipped glasses "

    I am guessing that the masses got the "glasshole" messages from the last several rounds. It isn't cool to be creepy, thank goodness. We all have cameras on our phones- they aren't hard to use, and it is far less rude/antisocial/ego-centric than making everyone constantly wonder if you are recording them every moment, especially in bathrooms, when having private conversations, when trying to eat, in sensitive business meetings, during exams, etc.

    So please, take your "camera glasses" and shove them somewhere more appropriate than on people's faces!

    • We all have cameras on our phones- they aren't hard to use, and it is far less rude/antisocial/ego-centric than making everyone constantly wonder if you are recording them every moment, especially in bathrooms, when having private conversations, when trying to eat, in sensitive business meetings, during exams, etc.

      You get a large swirling white light while they're filming, so it's kinda obvious. Also, they're a large pair of Sunglasses, so it's also pretty obvious when you're wearing them especially indoo

    • by gok9ok ( 5127915 )
      I have to disagree on "we all have our cameras they're pretty easy to use" I personally saw Spectacles as a more fun and more "social" and actually more fashionable way of gopros. they actually warn people around if theyre recording since they have blinking light but 1st not everyone has to know and second first news I read after they've became available was "how to hide the record light". For me this is a situation of we are the reason we cant have nice things. this was same with google glasses, creeps r
      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        I have to disagree on "we all have our cameras they're pretty easy to use" I personally saw Spectacles as a more fun and more "social" and actually more fashionable way of gopros. they actually warn people around if theyre recording since they have blinking light but 1st not everyone has to know and second first news I read after they've became available was "how to hide the record light". For me this is a situation of we are the reason we cant have nice things. this was same with google glasses, creeps rec

  • I remember walking past Snap's outlet on Venice Beach a few times last June and noticing that customers were always outnumbered by security guards, and I never saw anyone buy anything. The Spectacles vending machine was pretty cute though - lots of tourists were taking pics of it.
  • $130 and they don't appear to list the technical specifications anywhere on the product page. Maybe I just missed it, but I did look and saw nothing. Not the resolution nor the storage capacity nor the estimated charge length. Also you have to touch the button every ten seconds. Also they're damn fugly.

  • "Snapchat Reportedly Stuck With 'Hundreds of Thousands' of Unsold Spectacles"

    Yeah, no shit, Sherlock. That's because it was an expensive, goofy, bullshit product that was artificially crippled for no good reason and it was almost completely useless except for the selfie-addicted "lookit me" crowd. I'm surprised they only got stuck with hundreds of thousands and not millions. It serves them right and I hope they go out of business.

  • Essential has a more useful camera module but bundling poor selling products sometimes offers a little perceived value. They can put them in lucky bags for year end sales another clearance tactic.
  • Shareholders your first dividend commemorative snap spectacles someday might be worth more than your stock if you let that management team continue with these ventures into areas that are beyond their distinctive talent. It is not a major loss and if Snap learns , adapts they can of course find a better way. Amazon flopped with Fire phone but doing ok in assistant devices and tablets.
  • Stick to software. Stick to admin'ing an HP supplied server. Don't get into hardware more complicated than a t-shirt.

  • How could they even expect these things to sell more than maybe 1000 units? Snapchat is relatively niche as it is. Then add in the fact that most Snapchat users are probably 15-18 and probably don't have the money (or rich parents) to buy them the stupid glasses. It really narrows down the number of sales. Maybe if somebody had have found a way to hack them into doing something useful they would have sold.
  • They're cheaper than the cheapest Luxxotica frames that fit me, $130 to $150. About $29 for prescription lenses, and I have some cheap prescription glasses.

    You heard me. Cheap glasses.

    D:
    • They're cheaper than the cheapest Luxxotica frames that fit me, $130 to $150. About $29 for prescription lenses, and I have some cheap prescription glasses. You heard me. Cheap glasses. D:

      Yeah, but they make you look like a creepy 1980s children's TV presenter.

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