China’s camera sunglasses, Tonot, more promising than Snapchat’s Spectacles?

In September 2016, Snapchat released the Snapchat Spectacles – sunglasses imbed with a camera that recorded 10 seconds of video at a time, from a 115-degree angle lens, in a circular fashion. In April this year, it even upgraded a second generation version. However, it is said the little gadget at the price of around USD 150 has failed to become a smash hit in the market, ended up with USD40 million unsold inventory by the end of 2017. Critics would argue that deliberate hurdle created by Snapchat that you can only sync Spectacles to Snapchat Memories first before exporting and sharing the video recording elsewhere, might significantly reduce the user pleasure.

In China, we have been quite familiar with the explosive internet culture of short-video, live-streaming video, and video sharing, but few seemed to care much about developing some edgy hardware to enhance the whole experience until now, a local startup Tonot decides to follow the footstep of Snapchat.

The company claims that its camera glasses have more powerful features than Spectacles, such as much higher resolution, can continuously record for 120 minutes, support non-stop live-streaming recording up to 100 minutes and wider view of 120°. With 4GB of storage space, the video content can be easily distributed to major video and social platforms. The glasses are currently sold on Tmall and JD at RMB999, very similar price as Spectacles.

We are uncertain whether young Chinee would go bananas for Tonot, but at least Tencent and Line are holding high hopes. Both are forming the partnership with Tonot to manufacture co-branded camera sunglasses. The startup Tonot is expecting selling over 100,000 SKU by the end of next year and already raising millions of A+ round from investors like Bertelsmann Asia Investments.

By: Cecilia Wu