Monday, 24 September, 2018

Facebook to release its own smart home speakers in July 2018

Facebook to release its own smart home speakers in July 2018 Facebook to release its own smart home speakers in July 2018
Nellie Chapman | 16 February, 2018, 04:36

By the middle of the year, July at the latest, they are understood to be launching two different models, codenamed Aloha and Fiona, and both will have 15-inch touchscreens, rather like the Amazon Echo Show.

If Facebook's Portal device truly features a 15-inch screen, it would more than double the Echo Show in size, which measures up at roughly 7 inches.

According to a report from Cheddar back in January, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn't care whether Portal "generates a profit", he just wants to "change user behaviour and encourage phone-like usage". A wide-angle lens on the front of the device will be able to recognize users.

Previous reports indicated that the Portal device would feature a laptop-sized touchscreen and smart camera technology boosted by artificial intelligence. Both will come equipped with music because Facebook has signed music licensing agreements with both Sony and Universal Music to further enhance their appeal.

The Echo Show rivals will be premium audio devices according to a report from DigiTimes on Wednesday.

Currently, Amazon dominates the market for smart speakers, but there are indications that Google gained ground over the holidays. The devices are reportedly being developed by Facebook's Building 8 hardware lab. They will support voice commands, and will focus on "video chat" and other unnamed "social networking functions".

"Supply chain sources said that Facebook was originally slated to release the devices in May, but has chose to reschedule the launch to allow more time for perfecting the acoustic quality of the gadgets and software modification", the report said on Wednesday.

If you are wondering about the Fiona smart speaker, unfortunately the report has not mentioned much.

Speaking to The Sun earlier this year, research firm GfK's Imran Choudhary said that the Portal needs a voice assistant or it'll be at a "significant disadvantage" compared to the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Facebook is not known for producing consumer devices.

The social media giant will reportedly launch two new smart speakers - Aloha and Fiona - in mid-2018.

Sources told Bloomberg that the Portal and Fiona devices could possibly run a version of the Android operating system instead of Facebook building its own software.

Other interesting information that DigiTimes disclosed pertain to Facebook's partners.