Could this be Facebook’s answer to Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Home and Apple’s HomePod? That’s the theory currently circulating after a patent from the social network detailing a smart speaker was made public.
Apparently, Facebook was going to unveil its smart speaker at F8 in May, but that launch date has been pushed as a result of the company having more important things on its plate.
The patent application is simply titled Electronic Device, and contains a load of sketches of a potential smart speaker. It was filed at the end of December 2016 – so it’s actually pretty old – and there aren’t any details on how it would work, the tech it’s packing and so on. Boo indeed.
It’s difficult from the drawings to see exactly what’s going on. Figure 1 (above), for example, shows a device that sits flat on a surface with a speaker grill (or maybe LED lights) facing upwards. But then Figure 7 (below) does kind of look like a display with some buttons underneath. But it’s labelled “bottom view” – so that doesn’t really make sense.
Reports of a Facebook smart speaker circulated back in February, with two smart home devices, codenamed Fiona and Aloha were said to have forward-facing camera on the device and would also feature face recognition. Reports last year suggested a device, codenamed Portal, would have a display and a $499 price-tag.
Let's face it - no one really knows what this Electronic Device is, or could indeed end up being - apart from a few folks inside Facebook HQ.
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