Facebook is getting serious about making hardware for consmers.
According to a report from Business Insider, Facebook is making a video chat device, which is codenamed Aloha, and Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth is leading the project. This report follows another story from Bloomberg that claimed Facebook’s Building 8 division has been developing an Amazon Echo Show-like video chat device as well as an Amazon Echo-like standalone smart speaker.
Business Insider is essentially confirming that Facebook is working on both projects. The Aloha device is expected to have a large touchscreen, a wide-angle camera, microphones, speakers, and facial recognition technology. Facebook is reportedly testing it in employee homes, and it plans to launch it by May 2018 for about $499, which is considerably more expensive than the Amazon Echo Show.
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As for that smart speaker, it will cost $100, which is half the price of the Amazon Echo. Beyond those two products, Facebook might also be working on a 360-degree camera and is actively exploring wearables, including a sensor-equipped necklace. When Facebook eventually does launch these devices, it might market them under a brand name different from Facebook and pitch them at the elderly.
For instance, the elderly could use the Aloha device to easily stay connected with family.