Facebook reportedly has a video chat device in development and is likely looking to market this device to compete with the likes of devices such as Amazon’s Echo Show. The fact that Facebook is working on such a hardware product though would be one of the only similarities between it and Amazon’s most recent Echo offering, as the device that Facebook is working on is said to have a touchscreen that is about the size of a Laptop display. Of course, video chat would simply be one of this device’s possible functions, as it will surely be web connected to make use of the video chat feature, and having a connection to the internet would no doubt allow for it to complete other web-connected actions, such as browsing through your Facebook feed and perhaps engaging in normal chat through apps like Messenger.
The new product is said to be in development at Facebook’s Building 8 Lab, which is a new division that Facebook created for its more adventurous endeavors, not too unlike Google’s X division. The new video chat device is also reportedly equipped with a smart camera that has the ability to scan the room it’s in and lock onto users who are in the same room, allowing it to zoom in on whatever the users would want to show the person on the other end of the chat, like a picture for example.
In addition to the smart camera that’s built into the video chat device itself, a 360-degree camera attachment is said to be in the works for the device as well though it may not be completed and ready for the public by the time Facebook is ready to launch its new product. Currently there is no official confirmation on a price point for this product but the rumors peg it at possibly coming to market for a few hundred dollars, while Facebook may also offer its rumored standalone smart speaker more akin to the original Echo and Google Home at a cost of around $100, for those that don’t necessarily need the video chat and other features that will likely be offered by the more expensive unit. Facebook’s first smart speaker is rumored to launch in 2018, so chances are the new video chat device could launch around the same time.