Facebook's $400-worth smartwatch, with two cameras, could debut next summer
Earlier this year, reports suggested that social media giant Facebook might be in the process of developing a smartwatch for launch in 2022. A report from The Verge now claims that the company's hardware offering will sport two cameras and can be detached from the wrist for taking photos directly shareable to Facebook-owned platforms. Here's all about Facebook's first attempt at a wrist-worn wearable.
A rumor in February this year suggested that Facebook could be developing an Android-based smartwatch with built-in fitness tracking and messaging features. It was speculated that its 2019 acquisition of neural interface specialist firm CTRL-labs could give the wearable segment-first features. Further, in March, Facebook Reality Labs demonstrated a wrist-worn prototype for interacting with Augmented Reality (AR) environments using a neural interface.
A new report by The Verge cited two anonymous people familiar with the project who claimed that Facebook's smartwatch could feature a camera on the front of the device, primarily for video calls. A 1080p auto-focus camera on the back of the device could be used for capturing video when the watch is detached from its wrist-worn stainless steel frame.
The report claimed that Facebook is collaborating with unnamed companies to attach the camera hub to things like backpacks. We believe the end-result could resemble a cross between an Apple Watch and an Insta360 GO 2 action camera. Additionally, Facebook is reportedly working with top cellular carriers in the US for the watch's LTE connectivity so it can function even without smartphone pairing.
The report added that Facebook's smartwatch could rely on a custom version of Google's Android operating system and a companion app for phones. The device will reportedly be available in white, black, and gold variants. The Verge's uncorroborated sources claimed that Facebook hopes for a low six-figure sales volumes initially. Recently, Facebook employees have reportedly discussed pricing the wearable at around $400.
Facebook plans to bring the aforementioned neural interface tech in a later version of the watch while Apple has already enabled something similar called AssistiveTouch via just an OTA update issued to existing hardware. Not to mention, Apple controls the lion's share of the premium smartwatch market. Counterpoint Research claims Apple sold a whopping 34 million watches in 2020 alone.