Facebook set to launch two smart speakers in July 2018

Market watchers opined that the laptop-sized high-resolution touchscreen and smart camera technology will be the most crucial features of Facebook's smart speakers to rival Amazon's best-selling device Echo Show, which is fitted with a 7-inch screen. After all, the company has signed licensing deals with Sony and Universal Music.

The two units are reportedly being developed by Facebook's "Building 8" lab, run by former Defense Department employee and Googler Regina Dugan. What Facebook has in mind when it chose to include 15-inch touchscreens into its smart speakers, however, is a bit different.

Both devices will have touchscreens made by LG, but Aloha will be "more sophisticated" than Fiona, DigiTimes noted.

Facebook will reportedly officially enter the smart speaker market in mid-2018, launching two devices to the world by July at the latest.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously shown a keen interest in smart homes, where he built a smart personal assistant, Jarvis.

The Aloha model will be marketed under the name Portal and use voice commands along with facial recognition to access Facebook, according to the report. The devices, codenamed Aloha and Fiona, will allegedly be launched later than we originally thought - in July - so that Facebook's team can work on them further. As products go, they will compete with Amazon's Echo Show, but may not compete that effectively in terms of price, as at least one of them will be significantly more expensive.

The devices won't be Echo or HomePod lookalikes. Tell us what you think in the comment section below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

Portal and Fiona would be Facebook's first consumer hardware devices and could potentially give them a foothold in the crowded smart speaker market. The company has opted to reschedule its debut because it still needs more time to flawless the device's acoustic quality and make some changes to its software.

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Aloha and Fiona don't seem to be the only devices now being worked on by the company.

Last month, there was a report claiming that Facebook could be prepping the launch of a home video chat device dubbed as "Portal". Currently, Amazon dominates the market for smart speakers, but there are indications that Google gained ground over the holidays.

Facebook is outsourcing the touchscreen for the devices from LG, while Taiwan's Pegatron is reported to be the sole contract assembler for the devices.

It's possible that this could raise privacy concerns, however.

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Other interesting information that DigiTimes disclosed pertain to Facebook's partners.

  • Gina Adkins