Facebook's first smartwatch will reportedly have a detachable camera
The company is said to be eyeing a summer 2022 release window for the device.
K. Holt
06.09.21
NurPhoto via Getty Images
More details have emerged about the smartwatch Facebook is said to be working on. The company's next move into hardware could feature a display with two cameras that can be detached from a stainless steel frame to capture photos and videos.
You'd be able to share your captures across Facebook's services, according to The Verge. That includes Instagram, which has only officially supported phone uploads since it debuted in 2010. The display unit will reportedly have a front camera for video calls and a rear 1080p one with auto-focus. There might be third-party accessories to which you could attach the unit. A drone accessory would make a lot of sense.
Facebook's smartwatch is expected to arrive next summer. It's not yet clear how much Facebook plans to charge for its first smartwatch, but it could be around $400.
The watch could have a heart rate monitor, which might make it a hard sell for some, given the company's handling of user data over the years. The device is also said to offer LTE connectivity. As such, those who buy it wouldn't necessarily have to pair it with a phone, which would reduce Facebook's reliance on iPhone and Android devices to a certain degree. That said, the watch will likely use a custom version of Android and there'll probably be an accompanying phone app.
According to the report, later versions of the smartwatch (which are already said to be in development) will offer a way for people to interact with another product Facebook has mentioned publicly: augmented reality glasses
It's somewhat possible that Facebook could decide not to move forward with its watch plans. However, given that the company has reportedly plowed around $1 billion into smartwatch development, it seems there's a slim chance of that happening.
Facebook has had mixed success with hardware over the years. Although Oculus appears to be performing well, Portal smart displays don't seem to have set the world on fire. Facebook's brief foray into smartphones alongside HTC was a failure. The HTC First reportedly only sold around 15,000 units.
Facebook's vice president of augmented and virtual reality Andrew Bosworth responded to the latest report on Twitter. Although he didn't confirm plans to release a smartwatch, he didn't exactly deny the details either.
"We’ve said we want AR glasses to be truly useful — we’re investing in technologies across the board that will make that interaction feel more natural and intuitive," Bosworth wrote. "This includes research like EMG, haptics, adaptive interfaces that could come together in a wrist-based form factor."
Research doesn’t always lead to product development. Productizing these forms of input—for AR glasses or others—happens on parallel paths and in multiple iterations.
— Boz (@boztank) June 9, 2021
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