Snapchat’s new Spectacles show that Evan Spiegel is playing the long game

Spectacles_Sapphire_with_Twilight.0Snapchat released a new version of its video-recording sunglasses on Thursday, a waterproof pair that look and feel much like the originals.

They’re pretty fun — the glasses let you snap a photo or record a video and share it directly to your phone; they’re basically a fun way to capture a moment from the wearer’s perspective.

The truth is, though, that Spectacles aren’t a big business. The company says that it shipped 220,000 pairs of its first-generation Spectacles, a number the company considers a success, but that doesn’t move the needle for Snapchat’s business. Of last year’s revenue, 97 percent came from advertising. Even worse, the company ended up reporting a one-time $40 million expense last year to account for excess Spectacles inventory it couldn’t sell.

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