Amazon and Google are currently the major players in the smart speaker business, with the former being the undisputed king of this product category. Many other companies have similar products in stores, including devices that are powered by Amazon’s own voice tech.
Apple just launched the HomePod, it’s own competitor to Amazon’s Echos and Google’s Homes, arriving late to the smart speaker party — well, Apple sells the speaker primarily as a high-end speaker than a smart one.
Facebook, it turns out, will launch its own smart speakers later this year. And that’s an incredibly scary thought.
Facebook already tracks everything you do online so it can make more money from ads. That’s why a smart speaker made by Facebook sounds a lot more intrusive than Google’s or Amazon’s.
According to Digitimes Facebook will launch not one, but two distinct smart speaker models this July.
The devices won’t be Echo or HomePod lookalikes. Instead, they’ll compete against smart speakers with displays, like the Echo Show.
Codenamed Aloha and Fiona, the two Facebook speakers come with 15-inch touchscreen displays, which would allow family users to stay in touch. Obviously, you need to experience Facebook’s many products on this device, and that’s why a screen is required. Support for video chat and other social features are also included.
The Aloha is apparently the more sophisticated model and will be sold as Facebook Portal. The device will come with voice recognition features like any smart speaker, but also with facial recognition. A wide-angle lens on the front of the device will be able to recognize users.
The Portal will also come with music, thanks to deals Facebook inked with Sony and Universal Music.
The Aloha and Fiona will be the first Facebook products targeting video consumers. More “terminal devices” will be rolled out in the coming years, Digitimes says.
Facebook wanted to launch the devices in May, the report notes but delayed the launch to perfect the acoustic quality and software. Prices for either the Aloha or Fiona have not been leaked.
Pegatron will reportedly manufacture the devices, while LG Display will provide the screens for Facebook’s smart speakers.