Spectacles were one of last winter’s hottest gifts, but apparently demand for them quickly died off and left Snap in a bad position. The Information reports that Snap expected demand for Spectacles to continue after the holidays and ordered “hundreds of thousands” of additional units. But after it opened sales to a wider audience, that didn’t happen, and those units are now reported to be sitting around in warehouses, unsold.
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.
“Hardware is going to be an important vehicle for delivering our customer experience maybe in a decade.”
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.
“Our view is that hardware is going to be an important vehicle for delivering our customer experience maybe in a decade,” Spiegel said at a conference earlier this month, according to TechCrunch. “But if we believe it’s going to be important in a decade, we don’t want to be starting a decade from now.”
Snap now has a 150-person hardware team, according to The Information, though it isn’t entirely clear what the team is working on. There had been signs Snap was working on a drone, but The Information says that effort has been scrapped. There are also signs that it’s looking into augmented reality glasses, though that’d be a tough effort. It would also put Snap up against tech giants like Microsoft and Facebook, which haven’t had any luck expanding the tech outside of a gaming audience. Earlier this month, Apple said the tech to make good AR glasses “doesn’t exist” yet.