Facebook is working on its own smartwatch which will provide access to Facebook’s various messaging services like Messenger and WhatsApp, and also offer fitness and health features. The smartwatch market is saturated by various competitors like Apple Watch, Fitbit, Huawei, and others, with Apple’s offering being the most popular one.
Since Facebook does not have a mobile platform, its watch will support cellular connectivity which will allow it to work even without being connected to a smartphone. This means that it will likely feature GPS and LTE which will allow users to constantly stay online.
Facebook’s smartwatch is expected to launch next year
Similar to how it uses a heavily customized version of Android for Oculus Quest, Facebook will be using Android for its smartwatch too. This will allow it to develop social experiences around health and workout tracking and sharing with friends, and integration with third-party services like Peloton.
As per The Information, the smartwatch is part of Mark Zuckerberg’s ambition to control the next computing platforms after the smartphone, however, it is almost a decade late to smartwatches which started becoming popular around 2012. Facebook is no stranger to hardware as it already has a line of devices including Oculus VR headsets and Portal video-calling devices that support WhatsApp and Messenger. However, neither of these support huge platforms like iOS or Android.
The social media company has also been working on its smart glasses, which are expected to launch later this year. They will be manufactured by Ray-Ban’s parent company, EssilorLuxottica, but will not be futuristic AR glasses with a digital overlay like Google Glass.
Facebook is looking to launch its first-generation watch in 2022 and will be looking to sell it at a low price. The second-generation version is being planned for a 2023 launch. As is the case with all Facebook services, the company will have to work overtime to convince users that the watch will respect user privacy, a concern shared by many potential customers. This will also be a new product category for Facebook, in which it will be competing head-to-head against Apple. Meanwhile, Apple is working on its AR/VR headset, a category where Facebook has the lead.