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No Word on Snap's Spectacles

By Motley Fool Staff - Updated May 8, 2018 at 8:50PM

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The ostensible “camera company” didn’t touch on its Spectacles upgrade in the earnings report, and that’s not a great sign.

For a company that's been touting itself as a hardware seller, Snap (SNAP -0.95%) certainly isn't pouring out much love for its Spectacles revamp.

In this segment from Industry Focus: Tech, host Dylan Lewis and contributor Evan Niu go over what we do know about the Spectacles redesign, what it could mean for Snap's future, and why it's so frustrating that the quarterly report had no commentary on the product.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on May 4, 2018.

Dylan Lewis: Something that has gotten a ton of media coverage and was curiously absent from the conference call was Snap's Spectacles, the new version of their hardware product. I've read so many articles talking about this new product launch, and yet, no analyst questions about Spectacles, and nothing from management touting that they're really excited about this new product line.

Evan Niu: Yeah, for a "camera company" [laughs] making their second-generation hardware. I think analysts realized that hardware has always been this tiny part of the business, so they're more focused on the ad business, things there. But, I was surprised that, maybe even in prepared remarks from the management, they didn't mention it. Yeah, it's a little weird, because they're trying to pin their future on their ability to pivot into camera hardware, and I think that's pretty misguided because they don't even have their core ad business down.

Besides that, the second-generation Spectacles, they're not really anything game-changing, either. There's minor improvements from the first one, and the first one was such an utter disaster and it flopped. They made this $40 million inventory charge last year. It clearly did so poorly that you would think that Snap would realize that they need a bigger overhaul of the product to make it more successful. Instead, what they did is they increased the price of it to $150 and basically just made some minor incremental small improvements -- a little bit thinner, a little bit lighter, small performance improvements, but nothing enough that really addresses why the first one failed in the first place.

Lewis: Yeah. I get that they have bigger fish to fry, but as an analyst, understanding that 10, 15 minutes into the call, a lot of the core questions have already been asked, I'm shocked that no one said, "Hey, can you talk a little bit about the inventory management that you guys are doing for the Spectacles line now that you're relaunching it? Because you did eat $40 million in charges last time around, and we'd just like to get a sense of how you're handling it this time around."

Niu: Yeah, like, did you learn anything? That's a very reasonable question to ask, even beyond detailed stuff, just, what did you learn from it, and what are you going to do next time? They're very strategic questions. I was surprised, too, they didn't really talk about it.

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