Snap’s Next Big Idea: Camera Glasses — Oh, Wait …

April 26, 2018 by Paul Ausick

We could just roll out a few clichéd aphorisms to clear our throats: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” How about “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”? That’s enough for now.

The throat-clearing came after we saw that Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP), which describes itself as a camera company, has released a new version of Spectacles, a pair of sunglasses with an embedded camera. The new version costs $150 a pair, $20 more than the original version.

The company said it sold 220,000 pairs of Spectacles 1.0 and then took a $40 million write-down on however many pairs the company could not sell.

In its announcement on the company blog, Snap said:

Spectacles are now more comfortable to wear with a smaller profile, and they’re water resistant — so you can bring them to the beach, or your next pool party! Tap the button to record video with new and improved audio, and now, you can press and hold to take a photo! Snaps you capture will transfer to Snapchat up to four times faster, and always in HD.

We want Spectacles to be the simplest and easiest way to make memories from your point of view, and we appreciate all of your thoughtful feedback — many of these improvements were inspired by you!

The company says that some 3.5 billion Snaps are captured every day and that it figures that if Snap really is a camera company it should at least have a camera product. This time the glasses are being sold only through the Spectacles.com website, not in special vending machines or selected retailers. That should help keep inventory under control.

Since popping to high of over $27 shortly after its March 2017 IPO, Snap stock has dipped about 46% to close at $14.54 on Wednesday. When the company reports first-quarter results next week, analysts are expecting to see a net loss of $0.17 per share on revenues of $243.55 million, a jump of almost 63% in sales.

Shares traded up about 0.2% early Thursday afternoon, at $14.57 in a 52-week range of $11.28 to $23.57, and the consensus price target is $15.42.

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