Facebook is reportedly planning to launch two smart speakers with massive 15-inch displays this summer, marking the social media giant’s first foray into the now-crowded market.
According to a new report from DigiTimes, Facebook’s smart speakers will be launching by July and are code named Aloha and Fiona and will both sport 15-inch LG touch screens. The devices are reportedly being developed by Facebook’s Building 8 hardware lab.
Aloha, the larger of the two with a 15-inch touchscreen, will have facial and voice recognition, and will have social features by way of Facebook and Messenger. Video calls seem like the most obvious choice for a smart device with a screen and a camera.
“The sources said that the Aloha model is more sophisticated than Fiona, both designed by Facebook’s Building 8 hardware lab,” reads the report. “The Aloha model, to be marketed under the official name Portal, will use voice commands but will also feature facial recognition to identify users for accessing Facebook via a wide-angle lens on the front of the device.”
The report also says that Aloha will have more social networking functions. Facebook has signed deals with Sony and Universal Music, which may add more features into the smart speakers, according to DigiTimes. Surprisingly, not much has been said about the Fiona smart speaker, but it appears to be more focused on simple video calling
On the other hand, little has been said about Fiona, except that it will supposedly come with a Siri-like assistant and focus more on simple video calling.
The report says, citing supply chain sources, that Facebook was initially planning to release the smart speakers in May. However the launch was pushed back a coupled of months as the company needed more time for tuning the “acoustic quality of the gadgets and software modification.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously shown a keen interest in smart homes, where he built a smart personal assistant, Jarvis. It remains to be seen, how the new smart speakers match up to the offerings by big players like Google, Amazon, and Apple.