Rumors of Facebook’s development of a smart watch have been around for a few months, but recent stories have given use more details on the project. The watch, allegedly planned for summer 2022, is said to feature two cameras – one forward-facing, for video calls, and a second on the back.
The idea is that the unit can be easily removed from the wrist and used in much the same way as a phone camera. The images can then be uploaded straight to either Facebook, Instagram or shared on WhatsApp. Either through your phone’s connection or using an eSIM.
According to The Verge (opens in new tab), who broke the recent news, Facebook is in discussions with US networks to support an LTE connection inside the watch. The Facebook watch is also due to feature a heart rate monitor and fitness features to rival the likes of Apple and the now Google-owned Fitbit. Rather than being a premium device, it is expected to retail around $400 (£282/AU$516) and comes in a choice of black, white or gold.
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It seems that the project is not just a one-off either. The Verge also claims that second and third generations of the device are already in development, with plans to pair it with its augmented reality glasses that are also in development.
Facebook has already had success with its Portal video chat devices and its Oculus Quest VR headsets, so a move to smart watches isn’t as left-field as it first seems. But having a Facebook watch on you at all times might not be an easy sell, let alone one with two cameras on it.
Facebook has been criticized in the past for its handling of user data and collecting too much user information. This could put people off having a Facebook-branded device on their wrist, wherever they go. Especially when it has a forward-facing camera.
There is a reason why none of the big-name watches currently feature a camera built-in, despite it being an obvious addition. Video calling from your wrist sounds like a great idea – or at least very Star Trek – but what about those times when you’re not using it?
The idea of a rear camera on your watch is a good one though, and I can certainly see the benefit of having this as an alternative to your phone camera. But would I wear a Facebook device? Probably not. Not least because it doesn’t have the same cool factor as Apple or Samsung. Facebook has become a platform that your parents use. If it had the Oculus branding though, it might be a different story.