Facebook seems to be taking a shot at the smart home space by developing its own smart speaker that can get people to message their friends and look at their photos, through a device that is a speaker and also doubles as a screen for viewing media.
According to sources, the Facebook speaker may work as a photo frame when not in use and display appropriate photos or videos towards livening up the mood. Using voice recognition, users will supposedly be able to like content as well as comment on posts. Word internally suggests, that the manufacturer of iPhone, Pegatron, is developing the device for manufacture and is suspected to be ready for Q1 launch in 2018. The design for the new device is also said to be the product of Facebook’s Building 8 lab which is known for creating new hardware. The device is also rumored to feature an LG in-cell touchscreen with a magnesium-aluminium-alloy chassis.
The Facebook speaker will be more visually focused and interactive than through voice. It will do this via a 15-inch touch panel and considering the size, which is larger than tablet-sized devices, it should give users access to interact with device entirely instead of being limited to just a few functions through the screen. Pegatron is also said to be receiving a high growth rate for second half of this year as the company has fulfilled orders for the iPhone, the Microsoft Surface and the Xbox One.
The Facebook speaker will just be another feather in its cap. It will be tough competition if the speaker does ever come out, however, since Amazon is rumored to be releasing a newer iteration of the Echo speaker scheduled to be launch later this year. Even Apple’s Siri speaker will be released at the end of this year.
The only missing link that does not make sense so far towards the development of the smart home speaker by Facebook is that there has not been any news surrounding the AI that will be implemented in the Facebook Speaker. With every smart speaker now featuring its own AI, Facebook will have to customize its own, if it hasn’t already.
Also, considering that the speaker will be interactive mostly through its touchscreen, the UI and whatever voice recognition it can offer, need to be top-notch as the competition have already improved their assistants. Hopefully, Facebook’s does not end up like Samsung’s Bixby, which had limited functionality owing to delays in development.