Facebook reportedly working on video chat device, smart speaker

Past Oculus Rift, Facebook looks to get deeper in the hardware business with a low cost video chat device and smart speaker to better connect its users, Bloomberg reports.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor

Facebook is working on an Android-based video chat device to bring users closer, according to Bloomberg. Sources also said the company is working on a smart speaker to take on Amazon Echo and Google Home.

The video chat device is from Facebook's Building 8 hardware division, and will include a 13 to 15-inch touchscreen with a wide-angle lens, microphones, and speakers.

Bloomberg reported Facebook also wants to include artificial intelligence software for better user interaction with the video chat device. Facebook confirmed earlier this week it acquired artificial intelligence startup Ozlo to build up AI capabilities within Messenger.

The video chat device may cost "a few hundred dollars', according to Bloomberg. Facebook is considering a 360 degree camera for the hardware, but it may not be ready in time for launch in Spring 2018.

Facebook is also working on a standalone smart speaker with a Siri-style voice assistant developed in-house, the report said.

Facebook FCC filing via Business Insider

Further, Business Insider on Tuesday reported Facebook filed for a low-energy Bluetooth module for unspecified hardware.

A Facebook representative wasn't immediately available for comment.

Facebook's hardware group Building 8 is lead by Regina Dugan, the former head of Google's Advanced Technology and Projects. The hardware push would move Facebook past just offering its Oculus VR headsets and bring low cost hardware to its 2 billion monthly active users.

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