Facebook is reportedly working on its own smart speaker – though it is expected to take a different approach and focus on image display, as opposed to voice recognition.
According to Taiwanese publication Digitimes, citing sources from the “upstream supply chain”, the Facebook device will have a 15-inch touch panel and will be manufactured by Pegatron – which is one of four Taiwanese manufacturers that recently joined Apple in its legal battle with Qualcomm – while the touch panel will be supplied by LG display. The device, designed by Facebook’s secretive Building 8 hardware group, is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2018.
Though the details about the device are extremely thin at the moment, one can speculate that Facebook’s focus on image display could be a sign that the device will act as an extension to its social network and Messenger app. This idea would lean toward it working much like Amazon’s Echo Show, which enables users to make video calls, play Amazon and YouTube videos, and see the lyrics of the songs they’re listening to – in addition to using all of Alexa’s usual skills.
For now though, we will just have to wait until Facebook gives an indication of what it is actually planning with this smart speaker.