Facebook has put one of its longest serving executives at the head of its secretive Building 8 hardware group and its Oculus VR arm, as it eyes the creation of a video chat device.
Andrew “Boz” Bosworth will oversee the two Facebook departments, moving from his previous position as VP of Facebook’s ads and business platform, according to Business Insider. Bosworth, who has been at the company for over a decade, will be replaced in his old position by Facebook ads engineering executive Mark Rabkin.
It will be Bosworth’s job to ensure that everything goes smoothly with Building 8’s first consumer hardware product: a video chat device similar to Amazon’s Echo Show.
Word of Facebook’s plans to build a video chat device, codenamed ‘Aloha’, surfaced last month when Taiwanese publication Digitimes reported that Facebook was working on a 15-inch touchscreen smart speaker device.
Now, it has been learnt that prototypes of the video speaker have been tested in Facebook employees’ homes, and the plan is to release the device to the public for a price in the region of $499 in May 2018. In addition, it is now known that, on top of its video calling capabilities, the speaker will be able to recognise peoples’ faces when they step into the screen’s view.
Allegedly, Facebook, and Building 8, face a stumbling block if they are to get people to purchase the device next year. That stumbling block is concerns surrounding user privacy. Surveys conducted by the company showed many people are concerned that Facebook would use such a device to spy on users. So, Facebook has around nine months to get people to trust it.