Facebook chooses new hardware chief, in preparation for "Aloha" video chat speaker launch

By Digit NewsDesk | Updated 25 Aug 2017
Facebook chooses new hardware chief, in preparation for "Aloha" video chat speaker launch
  • Facebook's smart speaker is expected to have a screen, camera and microphone and will compete with Amazon's Echo Show.

Facebook has a new boss for its VR and Building 8 divisions. Andrew Bosworth, former head of the social network’s ads and business efforts, will now serve as the chief of these projects, under Regina Dugan. Dugan was hired by Facebook from Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects team, and has publicly talked about the futuristic technology she works with at Building 8. The change was reported first by Business Insider.

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That said, futuristic technology is just that...the future. According to the report, the first consumer device from Building 8 will be a video chat device akin to Amazon’s recently announced Echo Show smart speaker/video chat device. Facebook’s smart speaker is reportedly codenamed “Aloha”, and will have a camera, screen and microphone.

The BI report says the speaker will be priced at $499, over $200 more than the Echo Show. That said, the report also notes that the pricing hasn’t been finalised yet and could change by the time Facebook starts selling this device. The company is apparently looking at a May 2018 launch for the Aloha smart speaker.

By putting Bosworth on top, Facebook is unifying its hardware efforts, including Oculus and Building 8. At the company’s F8 Conference this year, Building 8 chief Regina Dugan had talked about though processing technologies being in the works within Facebook’s secretive team.

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