It looks like Facebook might enter the smart speaker market. According to a report by DigiTimes, the company is working on a connected speaker with a 15-inch display that will be released in the first quarter of 2018.
The device is said to be being made by Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Pegatron, which has already kicked off a small pilot production at its plants in China, says DigiTimes. Facebook’s smart speaker would go head to head with other devices in the market, such as the Google Home and the Amazon Echo Show. Well, sort of. While the Echo is powered by Alexa, and the Home by Google Assitant, the Facebook speaker reportedly won’t have a digital assistant on board. This, of course, means that its functionality could be somewhat limited.
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The whole thing would make more sense if Facebook announces its own digital assistant along with the device. That way, it could compete with the features of the other speakers, like providing weather and news information, and playing your favorite songs. Facebook hasn’t commented on the topic yet, so we don’t know exactly what to expect at this point. Nobody wants a 15-inch screen in their living room that’s only good for using Facebook, though.
The smart speaker is reportedly being designed by Building 8, Facebook’s experimental hardware division, so we would imagine that it could bring some exciting features to the table. Building 8 is reportedly working on a bunch of innovative projects right now, such as typing with your mind and understanding language through your skin (yes, really). It’s also reportedly developing a modular smartphone, based on the patent the company has recently filed.
The whole thing would make sense if Facebook announces its own digital assistant alongside the device
The demand for smart speakers is increasing, so it’s unsurprising that companies like Facebook could be interested in it. In addition generating revenue through direct sales of the unit, this would also give Facebook another opportunity to make money through ads (which is by far its biggest revenue stream).
To compete against current market leader Amazon, though — which has a market share of more than 70 percent — Facebook would have to reveal a smart speaker that’s not only affordable but also has a few unique tricks up its sleeve.
Would you like to see a smart speaker developed by Facebook? Let us know in the comments.