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Snap's Spectacles are just the beginning for hardware

CEO Evan Spiegel hints at future hardware endeavors for the company at the Vanity Fair Summit.

Spectacles are just the start.
James Martin/CNET

If you're not into Snap's Spectacles, don't give up on the company's creations just yet. 

There'll be more to come from Snap on the hardware front, said co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel on Tuesday at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles.   

"Hardware is going to be an important vehicle for delivering our customer experience, maybe in a decade. But if we believe that it's going to be important in a decade, we don't want to be starting a decade from now," Spiegel said. "We took that first initial leap with Spectacles, and we're excited to see where it goes from here."

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Spectacles, which are glasses embedded with a camera, flopped in sales in the second quarter at $5.4 million, compared to more than $8 million in sales in the first quarter. Those sales represented about 0.02 percent of Snap's 143 million daily active users. But Spiegel said Spectacles "outsold our expectations."

"We're just beginning to dabble in hardware," he added.

Spiegel also announced an art collaboration with Jeff Koons, in which users can see Koons' sculptures through new Snapchat Lenses. These virtual art exhibits are landing in parks and landmarks across the US, Canada, the UK, Paris, Australia and Brazil starting Tuesday, according to Snapchat. More locations will follow.

Snapchat launched the Lenses feature, which adds real-time special effects and sounds to what's normally seen through a camera, around two years ago. The feature has also been used with advertisers and brands like Bud Light, where a vendor appears and offers users a can of beer.

Spiegel also backed the company's decision to go public earlier this year.

"Going public was really the right thing for the company, and certainly the right thing for the time," he said. "We saw a tremendous benefit to transitioning our investor base from short-term venture investors to long-term investors." 

Snap faces stark competition from Facebook and its photo sharing app, Instagram. In August, Snap said it had 173 million total users, while Instagram announced its Stories platform had 250 million daily users.

Spiegel was careful in answering a question on how "obsessed" he is with Facebook from moderator Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of The Aspen Institute.

"What we found by focusing relentlessly on empowering creativity is that our customers tend to show us what's next, our customers show us what they want," Speigel said. "That's how I think we've been able to deliver the future to so many of our customers."

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