You have a smartphone, a laptop, and a TV. Maybe you also have a tablet or a smartwatch. And while there are plenty of companies looking to sell you the next-gen version of whatever gadgets you already own, it’s not every day that a brand new consumer electronics product category comes along and tempts you to buy a new type of gadget.
The lat major one I can think of is the introduction of the “smart speaker,” starting with the launch of the Amazon Echo in 2014.
But Facebook thinks there’s room for something new: a video chat device for use in your home. At least, that’s what Bloomberg is reporting. Facebook hasn’t said anything about the device yet.
According to Bloomberg’s sources, Facebook is developing a product with a “laptop-sized touchscreen,” and “smart camera technology.”
The idea is that you’d be able to use it to make voice and video calls to people, while getting a better view than would be possible on a smartphone screen.
Think of the gadget as a sort of Amazon Echo Show… but bigger… and without support for the Alexa voice assistant (although Facebook is said to be working on its own voice assistant feature).
The video chat gadget would be the first original hardware product from Facebook’s Building 8 lab, which was established last year to help the company begin developing its own hardware.
Probably the best-known hardware Facebook currently offers is the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, but Facebook acquired Oculus after the company was already established, which is a bit different from developing something in-house.