Snap, parent company of social media platform Snapchat, has a lot of glass on their hands, sunglasses that is.
A report from The Verge claims that Snap’s gamble on a wearable camera device that looks like retro-mod sunglasses has misfired, somewhat spectacularly. In addition, Snap’s rumored plans to launch its own drone are cancelled in light of the Spectacles product’s market reception.
Spectacles were the must-have Christmas item of 2016 according to The Verge and it is because of this initial enthusiasm that Snap overestimated the market demand for their wearable device.
Allegedly there are thousands of units sitting in boxes in warehouses waiting for a customer to purchase them – a bad sign for Snap which had hoped to expand beyond its core platform, the Snapchat app.
The Snapchat app is under heavy pressure from rivals like Instagram who are copying many of the service’s most popular features.
Evan Spiegel, Snap CEO, claimed the company had sold over 150,000 units of the Spectacles sunglasses. It is also reported that the warehouse storage lot might also contain component parts that can be used in other products.
While trying to paint a rosy picture of Spectacles success so far, citing sales figures that compared it with Apple’s first generation iPod, Spiegel did say that hardware would only be important to the company in the next decade or so.
Speaking at the Vanity Fair Establishment Summit, Spiegel said: “Our view is that hardware is going to be an important vehicle for delivering our customer experience maybe in a decade…But if we believe it’s going to be important in a decade, we don’t want to be starting a decade from now.”
The Information also reports that Snap’s planned drone is cancelled. This coincides with cuts at Snap Labs, Snap’s hardware division, which employs approximately 150 people. Snap’s attempted takeover of a Chinese drone manufacturer, Zero Zero Robotics, also fell through because of the firm’s asking price of $USD 200 million.
Snap’s attempts to diversify beyond its core products mirrors efforts of other tech giants, with the exception that they have more resources than Snap and can weather the failures that come along with the path to innovation.