VENICE BEACH, California — Tech workers, social media enthusiasts, students and journalists flooded here first thing Thursday morning to get their hands on the coveted Snapchat Spectacles.
The $129 video sunglasses went on sale, with no advance notice, in a bright yellow vending machine on the Ocean Front Boardwalk. It was placed outside Snapchat’s initial, but since outgrown, headquarters, a beach house overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
USA TODAY joined the line at 10 a.m. PT Thursday, and was still there two hours later, with at least an hour left, behind about 100 people. However, at 12:00 p.m., Snapchat reps advised us that we were unlikely to get copies.
The vending machine will be moving from this location today, to an undisclosed location that hasn’t been announced. Snapchat told us to go to “spectacles.com” to find the next location, when it’s announced.
Many people walked up to the vending machine, advised they could only buy one pair per credit card transaction, only to buy several. USA TODAY saw one customer pick up four of them, before a guard advised him to please move on.
Spectacles are already showing up on eBay, selling for as high as $950.
Folks in line wanted to be the first to have the coveted new commodity.
“We have to have them,” said Maya Bengston, 24. “I work for a surf company, and you can record without using your hands.” What about if they get water on them? “Just make sure you don’t get them wet,” she added.
“It’s really fun and personal,” added Kelsey Da Costa. “I just really want them.”
Will Brown said he was really interested in being first. “I want to be one of those people who can have Spectacles when inventory is really scarce,” he said.
In late September, Snap renamed itself and announced Spectacles — camera glasses that can record up to 10 seconds of video, similar to Google Glass, the ill-fated attempt by Google in 2013 to get people wearing $1,500 computerized glasses that could surf the Web and record images.
The privately held company, which spurned an offer from Facebook and is reportedly planning an IPO next year, has grabbed a growing share of the social media market and prompted rivals to scramble to mimic some of the Snapchat app's trademark features, such as photo filters and placing the camera at the center of the user experience.
Follow Jefferson Graham on Twitter: @jeffersongraham.