Keep those high-tech glasses away from me


technology
 Keep those high-tech glasses away from me

    This is a simple truth for 2017 and beyond: we dont want to wear glasses to enjoy our tech. 

    That became loud and clear this week courtesy of Snap, Inc., the parent company of communication app Snapchat.  

    The gadget graveyard now includes 3-D TVs, Google Glass and a case could be made for virtual reality headsets, as well. Count how many people you know who use a headset or watch 360-degree footage online.

    But none made a bigger belly flop than Snaps Spectacles, the colorful $129 video glasses which were initially scarce until they went mass market. Now, there are apparently warehouses with thousands of unsold merchandise gathering dust. This week, Snap said it took a $40 million writedown on the product. 

    The message is clear. Despite enthusiasts and analysts telling us that we will eventually move beyond desk and mobile computing to wear something on our head that beams and/or records images or connects to the Internet, we dont. 

    Earlier this year, we quoted the respected analyst Gene Munster from Loup Ventures, who told us that within 10 years, the smartphone as we know it will have come and gone, to be replaced by a wearable product.  He said that would probably be glasses that would connect to our friends, show us the latest social media post, play videos and the like. 

    I was skeptical then, and even more so now. I called Munster this week to tell him so, and replayed my opinions of the glasses graveyard, but hes not changing his tune. 

    Comedian Nemr poses in new Snapchat Spectacles video sunglasses

    He still believes that in a decade, the phone is toast and replaced by a wearable. “The way we interact with technology now is with the phone,” he says. “You take it out of the pocket and use hands or voice to interact with it. There will be a new way to experience computing, and well be wearing glasses to get it.”

    Its hard to see how we get there after all these clear consumer failures. 

    One of us is right on this. Lets check in in 2027 and see who came closer to the future. 

    Meanwhile, looking for a great deal on Spectacles? Auction site eBay has many used models available for just $50. 

    In other tech news this week

    —Speaking of the future, more Jetsons-style news for 2017 came from ride-hailing service Uber and Googles self-driving Waymo unit this week. Waymo announced with great fanfare its self-driving car service in Phoenix will soon drive passengers around, without a driver at the wheel. And Uber is looking to as soon as 2020 to offer flying taxi service in Los Angeles and Dallas. (That's right, a taxi that somehow flies in the sky. In just three years. Yeah, we're a tad skeptical on that one, too.) Separately, a self-driving Las Vegas shuttle bus started service in Glitter Gulch, but it had an accident within just two hours after launching. 

    —Twitter 280. The days of having to struggle through a 140 character-tweet to get your point across are soon history. Twitter said this week it is expanding the character requirement to 280, after testing it with select users since September. The beauty and challenge of Twitter was always the brevity of tweets. So get ready for some long-winded social posts. 

    —That's a Snap. The creators of the Snapchat app said it would soon disappear, to be replaced by a new, easier-to-use version. This came in response to Snaps third earnings report as a public company, and like the previous ones, this weeks edition was also, in a word, terrible. The company reported losses of $443 million, a $40 million write-down for the Spectacles debacle, and the decision to start again with an app that wouldn't be as confusing. Snap wouldnt say when the new app would be available, but Business Insider reported that its coming in December. Additionally, Chinese company Tencent said it invested $2 billion for a minority stake in Snap, worth about 10% of the firm.  

    —Apple had a killer opening weekend, selling out of the new iPhone X within two days, and reporting online order delivery wait times of 3-4 weeks. But while Apple caught the attention of consumers with the X, that other new iPhone, the 8, just didnt catch on. Apple sold fewer iPhone 8's in the third quarter than last year's 7, the 8 Plus or even the two-year-old 6S, according to researcher Canalys.

    Your Talking Tech audio week

    I Hate my Boss. Liz Dolan, the co-host of the I Hate My Boss podcast, tells how she gets office workers to spill their guts on her hit podcast.

    Liz Dolan turns the tables on Talking Tech: In part 2 of our chat with Dolan, she takes control of the microphones and asks questions, about the show and the host's photography. 

    Videogame console preview: USA TODAY's Brett Molina joins to preview what's new in video game consoles for the holidays. 

    Would you give Amazon the key to your front doors? The new Amazon Key service sends installers to put in smart locks and a security camera to let delivery folks drop your packages in the home. Richard Wolpert from Hello Tech, one of the installers for Amazon, explains how it works. 

    Sony RX10IV review. We rave about the latest edition of Sony's great travel camera, now expanded for sports. (Catch our video review as well, while you're at it! and our gallery of RX10IV images.)

    Talking Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman: The co-founder of LinkedIn and a venture capitalist, he just launched the second season of the Masters of Scale podcast, which features guests like Tesla's Elon Musk and Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, telling how they grew their companies. Hoffman talks Scale, and why he wants to "reveal the secret of Silicon Valley," on Talking Tech.

    Recycled Records lives! How the Internet Archive is digitizing album covers of a defunct San Francisco used record store and Boston library collection, to keep the tradition of browsing alive, even as record stores close. Bruce Lyalls, the owner of the soon-to-be-shuttered Recycled Records in San Francisco, guests. 

    Subscribe to the #TalkingTech newsletter, usat.ly/2qaIVVQ, the #TalkingTech podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein and wherever else you like to hear great online audio and follow Jefferson Graham on Twitter, @jeffersongraham. 

    By: USA TODAY

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