Facebook’s hardware division, Building 8, is working on its first device: a modular phone and a video chat smart home product codenamed ‘Aloha’ that’s set to compete with the Amazon Echo Show, according to a Business Insider report that expands on previous rumours from Bloomberg.
The device is expected to feature a large touch screen, speakers and a camera with facial recognition technology.
Prototypes of Aloha have been tested in the homes of several Facebook employees within recent months. Moreover, the company is said to be planning a May 2018 release, though that may change.
The device will allegedly cost $499 USD, equivalent to about $624.73 CAD.
Though the price of the Aloha is nearly $200 more expensive than the Amazon Echo Show, that’s not the only problem that Facebook may have with the product. The company has reportedly conducted marketing studies that show there is concern from users that Facebook would use the Aloha to spy on them.
The company has reportedly conducted marketing studies that show there is concern from users that Facebook would use the Aloha to spy on them.
Business Insider claims that Facebook has considered pitching the Aloha as an easy way for the elderly to communicate with their families, and have considered creating new brand names to sell the products.
As the device nears completion, the efforts of Building 8 are now being led by previous vice president of ads and business Andrew Bosworth, who is credited as the creator of the News Feed.
Andrew Bosworth, also known as Boz, will now manage both Building 8 and Oculus, the company’s VR division, as Facebook has announced that it will merge all of its consumer hardware efforts.
“We are excited about our long-term investments in virtual reality, augmented reality, and consumer hardware,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider.
“We believe these new technologies have the potential to bring the world closer together in entirely new ways, and we’ve built great teams with strong leadership in each of these areas. Bringing these teams closer together will help us move even faster as we continue to invest in our 10-year roadmap.”
Source: Business Insider