Facebook prepping a Wear OS smartwatch, developing its own mobile operating system
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Facebook has long held consumer hardware ambitions. The company has previously tried and failed with a smartphone partnership with HTC, while it has had success with its Oculus VR headsets, is working with Ray-Ban on a pair of smart glasses, and it also continues to sell a range of video chat-enabled devices under the Portal moniker. Now, according to The Information’s sources, the social media company is hard at work on a Facebook-branded smartwatch and is even developing a mobile operating system.
Although details are relatively scarce at this stage, the Facebook smartwatch will run Google’s Wear OS, at least in its first incarnation. Naturally, this brings with it support for messaging, health and other fitness features but it could also support its Portal video chat ecosystem. As with Facebook’s Oculus VR headsets, users can probably expect to have to sign in to Facebook’s social media platform in order to use it. For those who don’t mind Facebook using the anonymized aggregated data that its smartwatch will generate, it should be a solid offering.
News that Facebook is developing an in-house mobile operating system is perhaps a little more surprising. The company currently relies on Google’s software as the basis for its various hardware offerings, but it seems developing its own mobile operating system for its devices offers greater advantages. Apple remains the pinnacle when it comes to controlling the key aspects of its hardware and software and many other companies have tried to follow suit but largely without success. Facebook has extensive resources, so it will be interesting to see if it can successfully bring its plans to fruition.