Facebook is reportedly launching two smart speakers – codenamed ‘Aloha’ and ‘Fiona’ – to the global marketplace by July 2018, tipped to feature 15-inch LG Display touchscreens.
According to Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes, Facebook’s smart speakers aim to facilitate connections between family and friends, via video chat and other social integrations.
Both products are designed by Facebook’s Building 8 hardware lab, and will feature facial recognition, voice control and a wide-angle camera lens.
Facebook has reportedly signed music licensing contracts with Sony and Universal Music to further enhance the products’ applications.
In a bid to take on the likes of Amazon and Google, commentators affirm the ‘laptop-sized’ touchscreens on Facebook’s smart speakers will provide a unique point of difference.
Supply chain sources claim Facebook initially planned a May release, however, decided to delay launch to further refine software and acoustic qualities.
Facebook’s ‘Aloha’ smart speaker is said to be the ‘premium’ version of its two devices – tipped to be sold under the official name of ‘Portal’.
The news comes as the social media giant actions a five-year plan focused on an expanding ecosystem of video display devices – the forthcoming smart speakers are set to be ‘initial-stage’ products.
DigiTimes reports Taiwan’s Pegatron has been appointed the sole contract assembler.
Canalys latest research forecasts smart speaker sales will double in 2018 to 50 million units.