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Facebook Developing Video Chat Device

Facebook is currently developing and testing a video chat device as part of its first push into physical products.

Detailed in a Bloomberg report, the device features a “laptop-sized touchscreen” as well as “a wide-angle camera lens, microphones and speakers”.

Artificial intelligence technology would enable features like the camera scanning a room to find an individual and zoom in on them.

The device will help users communicate within the Facebook ecosystem, and may run a version of Android rather than a proprietary operating system according to Bloomberg’s sources.

Testing of the device is apparently already underway, and it may be unveiled at Facebook’s F8 developer conference in Autumn 2018.

Along with the new video-oriented hardware, Facebook is also reportedly hiring former Apple staff to develop a new voice assistant that would be used on the video chat device as well as a new smart speaker similar to the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple’s upcoming HomePod.

With all the competition in the smart speaker market, Facebook may choose to halt development of its own and instead focus on the video chat device, two of Bloomberg’s sources said.

If it does eventually hit the market, the speaker will be priced in the low US$100 range, while the video hardware “would cost a few hundred dollars”.

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