Following loosely in the footsteps of Apple with its premium HomePod device, and Amazon with its touch-screen Echo Show, a new report published Tuesday by DigiTimes claims that Facebook, too, has hopped on the smart speaker hardware bandwagon, and is currently in the preliminary stages of developing its own commercially-available device.
Whereas Apple’s HomePod and Amazon’s range of Echo devices have focused heavily on their voice-driven personal assistant platforms, Siri and Alexa, Facebook’s upcoming ‘Smart Speaker’ will reportedly focus more on “image display,” and is slated to ship featuring a massive 15-inch touchscreen display panel that’s expected to be supplied by LG Display, according to the report.
“Facebook is rumored to be planning to release a smart speaker product, but instead of voice recognition functionality, the company will focus more on image display and will adopt a 15-inch touch panel for the device,” according to the DigiTimes report, which cites a number of upstream supply chain sources.
The report goes on to cite that Pegatron, one of Apple’s primary iPhone assembly partners, has been tapped to manufacture the device for Facebook, which will supposedly be ready for release sometime in 2018. Additionally, the report claims that “small scale production” of the Facebook speaker has already begun at one of Pegatron’s factories in China.
While DigiTimes reports that the Facebook speaker will boast a super-strong, magnesium-aluminum-alloy chassis, other key details about the device, including its potential functionality, remain under wraps at this time. Given Facebook’s dominance as a social media company, however, while also factoring in that the hardware’s cornerstone feature will the its massive touch-screen display, it’s only reasonable to assume that the device will focus heavily on photos, videos, and perhaps other key components of Facebook’s vast platform like messaging, voice and video calling, and the company’s AI-based M-bot.
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