Facebook set to launch smart speakers


Facebook is planning to launch two smart speakers with massive 15-inch displays this summer, according to new reports. Mark Zuckerberg's company has reportedly made a decision to delay the release of its Portal-named smart speaker and the other model that's now known for its codename, "Fiona".

The smart speaker is just the initial-stage product, with more terminal devices expected to be rolled out in the coming years, the report added.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously shown a keen interest in smart homes, where he built a smart personal assistant, Jarvis. Further, the smart speaker is also likely to be equipped with facial recognition technology to identify users.

It's been rumored for several months that the social media giant has been designing some kind of video chatting or smart speaker device.

The devices have been speculated to cost an upwards of $499 (£370), making them much pricier than similar products now on the market, such as Amazon's $39 (£27) Echo Dot. The former is said to be a more sophisticated model and could be marketed under the official name Portal. Portal will a wide-angle lens up front for this goal.

A version in testing would enable the camera to automatically scan for faces in the room and link them to their Facebook accounts.

The devices won't be Echo or HomePod lookalikes.

We've asked Facebook for comment and will update this article with any response.

"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.

The report notes that FB originally planned to release its devices in May, but pushed the date back in order to improve the quality of its offering.

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.

How will the two 15 inch smart speakers be differentiated?

Facebook is outsourcing the touchscreen for the devices from LG, while Taiwan's Pegatron is reported to be the sole contract assembler for the devices.

The report also says that Aloha aka Portal will have more social networking functions. Video is increasingly important to Facebook users and these devices will offer a quick and easy way to check out video content away from their phone and computer.

It's possible that this could raise privacy concerns, however.

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



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