Facebook is planning to make its first foray into hardware next year and according to a new report it may start competing directly against Apple.
The social network is reportedly building a stand-alone video chat device with a built in touch screen that is focused on helping bring Facebook users closer together.
With its laptop-sized touchreen, the device will try to create an all-new product category, per Bloomberg’s sources. Smart camera technology combined with the big screen will supposedly make it easier to communicate.
Based on the little information we have so far of Facebooks in-home communicator, it’s hard to see how it would fit into our lives. iPhone, iPads and other devices already have video calling. And they can be used for a number of other tasks too.
Apple’s new competition?
Facebook is also allegedly working on a smart speaker too that would compliment the video chat device. Both products will run on Facebook’s voice assistant software but the company may power the video chat touchscreen with Android
By building its own hardware, Facebook hopes to be able to lock users into its ecosystem. Its video chat device may use a wide-angle camera lens, microphones, speakers and artificial intelligence to bring next level video chat features to the home.
One feature in testing has the camera automatically scan for people and lock onto them. The report aims a 360 degree camera for the device is in development too.
To make its smart speaker competitive, Facebook will allegedly offer it for less than $100. Our first glimpse of the devices may not come until Facebook’s developer conference in the spring of 2018 though so more rumors are sure to come.