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Hashtag Trending – Snap Inc. releases updated Spectacles; real-life Transformers; Sonos worth $3B?

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Snapchat parent Snap Inc. releases the next generation of its wearable Spectacles camera; Japanese researchers have created a real-life Transformer; and the Wall Street Journal reports that smart speaker maker Sonos could be worth $3 billion USD.

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Trending on Product Hunt: Snapchat parent Snap Inc. has released the next generation of its wearable Spectacles camera, a pair of smart sunglasses that look similar to the original Spectacles but now have the added benefit of water resistance and a slimmer design. Reviews indicate the device transfers photos to the user’s phone more quickly than the original model did as well. The original Spectacles were a costly mistake for Snap: The company took a write-down of almost $40 million on them last year, and laid off a dozen workers, after manufacturing many more devices than the 150,000 that were actually sold.

From Twitter: Japanese engineers have built a real-life robot in disguise. Designed by Kenji Ishida, CEO of Japanese firm Brave Robotics and a self-described anime fan, the “J-deite RIDE” can transform from its 12-foot-tall, Optimus Prime-like humanoid form into a two-seater sports car in about 60 seconds. Unlike the Transformers, two passengers can sit in the vehicle as it switches between forms. Speaking with Reuters, Ishida said he grew up believing that robots had to be capable of such transformations, which motivated him to develop one. He did not mention any particular animated series as inspiration.

Finally, trending on LinkedIn: Anonymous sources have told the Wall Street Journal that smart speaker maker Sonos Inc. has confidentially filed for an Initial Public Offering, which it plans to make public in June or July – and that when it does so, it could be worth between $2.5 and $3 billion USD. A pioneer in the internet-connected speaker industry, a booming market thanks to products such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, Sonos is positioning its hardware as platform-neutral, with superior sound, though its developers have not yet made its products compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, or Google’s Assistant. Sonos declined to comment on the Wall Street Journal’s report.