Facebook is working on a video chat device
A recent Bloomberg report has revealed that Facebook is hard at work on a dedicated video chat device for homes. Current prototypes feature a 13”-15” screen, “smart camera technology” with wide-angle lenses and AI-powered microphones and speakers. Facebook is already testing the device in select homes.
The video chat device could come with a thin, vertical stand that holds the display and integrates the speaker/microphone tech. Facebook could make this an Android-based device, and is currently testing software that enables automatic scan and lock on people facing the included wide-angle camera. A 360-degree camera is also in the works, but this will probably come as an add-on after the initial launch. Speaking of the launch, the video chat device could be officially announced at next spring’s F8 developer conference, and, according to Bloomberg, it could retail for “a few hundred dollars”.
With the new video chat device, Facebook intends to “help farflung people feel like they’re in the same room,” aligning with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s mission of bringing Facebook users closer together. The report also mentions that Facebook is working on a smart speaker “in the low US$100 range” that should compete with Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home devices. Considering the leaked modular smartphone from a few weeks back, it looks like Facebook is trying to develop all sorts of new devices for an interconnected ecosystem.