My brain suddenly made connections between two completely unrelated events : a market research report issued by App Annie, and an announcement by GetNarrative.
App Annie predicted that connected glasses will be on the rise in 2017 and GetNarrative announced it was ending business. Read further to understand the link (at least in my brain) between the two events.
Connected glasses will rise in 2017
Market researchers at App Annie wrote :
Consumer and development interest in smartwatches hasn’t quite lived up to the hype from a few years ago. In response, we believe OEMs and platform owners will shift investments over to smart glasses, from basic camera-equipped eyewear like Snap Spectacles to full-fledged AR platforms like Microsoft’s HoloLens. But with the underlying technology still immature, standalone commercial success will remain elusive in 2017.
What is interesting is that both Snapchat glasses Spectacles and Microsoft Hololens are based on recreational basis (only recreational in the case of the Spectacles glasses). And that’s the big difference with Google glasses, another early example of augmented reality glasses that never really found its market (another good evidence of Christiensen’s theory that new entrants don’t win).
GetNarrative closes business activities
In early October 2016 GetNarrative, a swedish company started in 2012, announced it was stopping its activities. GetNarrative was founded on the premisses of a successful Kickstarter and promised to conceive a wearable clip to capture all moments of one’s life in the form of pictures stored in the cloud.
The company described itself as follows
Narrative is a Swedish company with a vision of giving everyone the ability to capture and share moments that matter. Narrative is an innovative market leader in wearable cameras and intelligent photo analysis that has created the world’s most wearable camera. Narrative’s image analysis service analyzes the photos and data and serves the user with her most meaningful and memorable moments in a mobile app photo and video stream.
Back in 2012 the idea was brilliant : get one’s life best moments into a stream of digital photos. It was purely recreational and answered a need of some very early adopters. Back then I was temptd to test it; I eventually never bought the product for two main reasons :
- I didn’t like the idea of spending time to chose the best pictures out of thousands of moments captured randomly (my guess was that most pictures produced would be of no interest since they were produced without control)
- the clip had only 8Gb of internal capcity and pictures were stoired on the cloud for which you had to pay
Why Snap Glasses have better chances to succeed than the GetNarrative clip
Unlike Google Glasses (which were a very “utilitarian” product), the Snap Spectacles are totally recreational. The ambitions of this product are also somewhat lower than the GetNarrative clip, which enabled Snapchat to get rid of the technical traps GetNarrative fell in (like producing too many pictures and having to sort them afterwards). Yet, beyond the hype this product may create, I wonder how many people will really use it more than a couple times. I think we are still very very far away from a generalized use of Augmented Reality devices. But one thing is sure. The adoption process will most certainly start with recreational applications.