Facebook is reportedly working on its own smart speakers with a display to rival the Amazon's Echo Show, Google's recently showcased Assistant powered Smart Displays in partnerhsip with third-party OEMs. As per a Digitimes Report, the two Facebook devices are named Aloha and Fiona, and will feature 15-inch touchscreen displays, which can be used for watching videos, video calling and ofcourse, browsing Facebook. They are expected to be launched by July this year.
The report says, citing supply chain sources, that Facebook was initially planning to release the smart speakers in May. However the launch was pushed back a coupled of months as the company needed more time for tuning the “acoustic quality of the gadgets and software modification.” The devices are reportedly being developed by Facebook’s Building 8 hardware lab and the Aloha is said to be more sophisticated than Fiona. The report says that Aloha will be sold under the Portal moniker, which could support voice commands and come with a facial recognition feature for identifying users who are accessing Facebook via a wide-angle lens on the front.
Facebook has purportedly signed a music contract with Sony and Universal Music for bringing content to the devices. The Aloha and Fiona devices are said to be the company’s first devices towards building its ecosystem in the next five years and they are expected to release more end consumer devices in the coming years.
Besides Facebook, Google also has its own Smart Display devices powered by a Google Assistant at CES 2018. The Amazon Echo Show will also be its competition, which houses a 7-inch display with speakers and is equipped with their the Alexa AI. The Echo Show supports video calls, music playback, web surfing, connect to other smart home devices and more. It’s not known yet whether Facebook’s Portal will come with all these functions as well.