Facebook wants to take on the Apple Watch with a smartwatch that could launch next year
Facebook is reportedly working on a smartwatch, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans. According to The Information, the smartwatch is currently in development and will reportedly go on sale next year. While not much is known about the wearable, sources state that it could run “an open-source version of Google’s Android software” which would suggest it will be based on Wear OS.
The unnamed smartwatch will reportedly feature cellular connectivity and focus primarily on Facebook’s messaging services. The smartwatch will also feature health and fitness tracking, meaning it could very well compete with some of the best fitness trackers on the market. Facebook will apparently allow owners of the watch to connect with third-party fitness services like Peleton and wants to highlight social features through tracking workouts with friends and other such activities.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has strayed into the Android space, as the company partnered with HTC on a smartphone many years ago, running its own Android launcher that focused on messaging. Neither the phone nor software were well-received, and Facebook abandoned the launcher that same year although some of the software like Chat Heads were more widely adopted into the platform.
Facebook is also reportedly planning to launch augmented glasses, which would differ from its popular virtual reality products like the Oculus Quest 2 remain popular. The glasses would not launch until 2023, but Facebook reportedly to deeply integrate the glasses with the watch in future iterations.
It’s not exactly surprising that Facebook wants to build a smartwatch. The company was hoping to purchase Fitbit before Google acquired the company. Of course, even launching a smartwatch may not be an easy feat for the social media giant. Facebook’s position around user data has been under much scrutiny lately, particularly as it pertains to its ownership of its social media and messaging apps, Instagram and WhatsApp. Amazon recently released its own fitness tracker, the Amazon Halo, which has been criticized for its invasive health features.
Sources state that if the watch goes on sale, it could retail at a price close to the cost to produce it, similar to the Oculus. The company would also release a follow-up in 2023, which could coincide with its plans for augmented glasses. Still, given the early development of the smartwatch, Facebook could still dismiss the product before it ever sees the light of day.
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