Facebook has long been rumored to be working on a smartwatch to rival the Apple Watch or Android wearables. In fact, there has been evidence of ongoing development as recently as late 2021. However, it now seems Meta (Facebook's rebrand parent company) has decided to stop the development of the device.
While only renders of the proposed Facebook Watch were ever seen, it is widely believed the device was a genuine project within the company running on the codename Milan. In fact, it was also purported to deliver a fresh take on smartwatch technology by placing a camera on the device for videos and images.
It would look similar to the Apple Watch with a rectangular design with rounded covers, with a function button on the right. Facebook was originally planning a 2023 launch and a price tag of $349 (again, in line with the Apple Watch).
Bloomberg now reports that despite spending two years and plenty of money developing the device, Meta has decided not to put it into production. The question is why is Meta cutting this device? There are a few answers worth considering:
- Cost-Cutting: Meta has confirmed it is on a path to cutting $3 billion from its annual expenses amid the ongoing economic downturn. The company is also facing issues such as the first decrease in Facebook users ever.
- Terrible track record: Facebook's track record with in-house hardware is abysmal. The never-launched Facebook Phone shows the company tries to develop devices that ultimately never arrive.
- Technical Difficulties: It is reported placing the camera module into the wearable has been challenging because it would interfere with other sensors. It seems Meta was unwilling to forgo the camera and saw it as a must-have component of the smartwatch.
- Re-focusing: There is no doubt that Meta/Facebook is now full steam ahead in the Metaverse. While a camera watch could be useful in the metaverse, it would clearly be a niche product. Meta is focusing on the wider development of Metaverse software.
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