Snapchat Spectacles are now sold online as vending machines take a break


If you didn’t race out to Venice to get them, or stand in an endless line in Santa Monica, or catch a helicopter ride to the middle of the Grand Canyon, or speed down Pacific Coast Highway or brave the Manhattan cold, or pay a premium on EBay, well, you finally can just go online to buy Spectacles.

The $130 high-tech sunglasses from the company behind the Snapchat app instantly became a hot toy when they debuted last fall. They were novel and cool to many people, with a video camera integrated in the hinge to capture footage by clicking a button on the frame. And they were hard to get.

Snap Inc. sold Spectacles only through vending machines, often drawing crowds that quickly outpaced supply. And they popped up with little notice, including at Los Angeles beaches and the Arizona desert. Thousands of people who couldn’t reach a machine paid extra to buy pairs through EBay, Amazon and other resellers.


Snap opened a store in Manhattan with two vending machines for the holidays, but shut it down as planned Sunday.

A screen grab from a video taken in downtown Los Angeles with Snapchat Spectacles in December 2016.
(Paresh Dave / Los Angeles Times)

The vending machines will eventually reemerge, but the company announced Monday the launch of sales through Shipments are going only to U.S. addresses, with marketing materials suggesting two to four weeks for delivery.

A spokesperson declined to comment on when Spectacles will available outside the U.S. Snap — which is weeks away from what is expected to be the biggest-ever initial public offering for a Los Angeles company — has said the sunglasses aren’t contributing significant revenue, nor is it promising that they will. The company brought in $166 million in the last quarter of 2016, mostly from ad sales.

With regular use, Spectacles need charging every few days. They store about 200 10-second clips, which can be downloaded through Snapchat. Videos can be uploaded anywhere online, but they appear in a circular layout rather than the standard rectangle.

The camera doesn’t take photos or include zoom functionality. Spectacles are made in China, where Snap has created an office to quickly make and test other products.


Spectacles — the debut camera from Los Angeles start-up Snap Inc. — might be the first camera ever sold with most of its technical specifications withheld. / PGP

Twitter: @peard33