Facebook’s first smartwatch will launch with two cameras and a heart rate monitor

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Facebook doesn’t have the best history when it comes to creating its own hardware. There was a smartphone that didn’t go anywhere and we’re not counting the Oculus stuff – they paid for that. Its more modern attempts – witness the Portal range – have proved more successful, leading the company to think that it can launch a smartwatch. Yup, there’s a Facebook smartwatch on the horizon. Here’s what’s known so far.

Watch, out for Facebook

The wearable device hasn’t been officially announced but it’s coming – we should see it turn up in about a year’s time, though it’ll likely be confined to the US at launch. A heart rate monitor is an obvious addition to the wrist-based hardware, but the company is also including two cameras – one of them detachable.

The way the social network’s camera hardware will work is: there’s a front-mounted sensor, so you can make your arm tired making and taking video calls. There’s also a rear camera sensor, an HD autofocus effort that can be detached from the watch and mounted in weird and wonderful places so you can share even more images with Facebook and Instagram – without using your phone. Something tells us Mark isn’t thrilled with Apple and Google right now.

Which is kinda the point of this device. The Verge reports that its creation is part of a larger plan to try and circumvent the two tech giants, which currently act as a limiting factor for Facebook’s growth. That’s especially true because both Apple and Google are enacting measures that stand to stall the social network’s all-important tracking abilities. The solution, obviously, is to make your own devices that work the way you want them to (and hope that people buy them)

Hard sell

But that’s easier said than done. The Facebook smartwatch – which isn’t yet a done deal and could still be consigned to the bin – is expected to only sell numbers in the hundreds of thousands at launch. Those are paltry numbers, considering that other wearables regularly sell in the millions.

And then there’s the social network’s reputation when it comes to keeping its user data safe. The information it has now is regularly misused and compromised – having it collect health data in addition to everything else flowing into its gaping maw might not be the greatest idea the planet’s ever had.

Word is that Facebook might also use its wearable as a part of its coming augmented reality glasses, letting it act as an input unit of sorts. But with a projected price of $400 (R5,500) and its standout feature being something a smartphone already does (rather flipping well), strapping on a Facebook smartwatch might be a bridge too far – at least, until it (properly) integrates with something much more essential.

Source: The Verge

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