Facebook is secretly building a smartwatch and planning to sell it next year

Illustration by James Bareham / The Verge

Facebook is building a smartwatch as part of its ongoing hardware efforts, according to a new report from The Information. The device is said to be an Android-based smartwatch, though the report does not say whether Facebook intends for the device to run Google’s Wear OS. It also says Facebook is working on building its own operating system for hardware devices and that future iterations of the wearable may run that software instead.

The smartwatch would have messaging, health, and fitness features, the report says, and would join Facebook’s Oculus virtual reality headsets and Portal video chat devices as part of the social network’s growing hardware ecosystem. Facebook is also working on branded Ray-Ban smart glasses to come out later this year and a separate augmented reality research initiative known as Project Aria, which is part of the company’s broader AR explorations it’s been working on for some time now. Facebook declined to comment regarding any planned smartwatch projects

The social networking giant’s hardware ambitions are no secret. The company has more than 6,000 employees working on various augmented and virtual reality projects and as part of existing hardware divisions like Oculus and Portal, as well as experimental initiatives under its Facebook Reality Labs division, Bloomberg reported last month. And although Facebook has not expressed a strong interest in health and fitness devices in the past, the company does have a track record in wearables with its Oculus headsets and forthcoming smart glasses.

Facebook also acquired the neural interface startup CTRL-Labs in 2019. CTRL-Labs specialized in building wireless input mechanisms, including devices that could transmit electrical signals from the brain to computing devices without the need for traditional touchscreen or physical button inputs. The startup’s intellectual property and ongoing research may factor into whatever wearables Facebook builds in the future — including a smartwatch, smart glasses, or future Oculus headsets.

Update February 12th, 6:22PM ET: Noted that Facebook declined to comment.

Update February 12th, 7:17PM ET: Clarified that Facebook’s Ray-Ban smart glasses partnership is distinct from Project Aria, an AR research initiative Facebook has no plans to commercialize.

Comments

Why the fuck would I want that?

Haptic feedback for whenever you’re "poked".

Haptic feedback for whenever you’re "poked"…



…eww.

My thoughts exactly. I would love for Facebook to focus on turning it’s main product into something that isn’t atrocious garbage that’s slowly ruining humanity before they venture off into terrible hardware products that no one is asking them to make.

Yeah, Zuck and co seem severely out of touch with reality – and stuff like this keeps proving they’re further down the whole than I previously thought possible.

Oh heck naw.

As if Facebook didn’t collect enough data about its users already…

"‘Secret secrets are no fun, Secret secrets hurt someone.’ -Stripper lady from the Office"
-Michael Scott

FB, while you are at it, just make an Apple watch rip-off for android and don’t make fb account login mandatory for using it.. and we will have a winner.

Facebook just doesn’t get it.


Thanks for ruining it Mark, *sshole!

Heck NOOOOO … No way I am giving FB my fitness data no matter how awesome this product will be marketed as to be.

I would not trust FB with any data , leave alone fitness data .

most likely they are already getting the data through your smartphone if you already have a smartwatch because of permissions required by facebook. other companies owned by facebook or thirdparty partners.

Well, not so "secretly" now, innit?

Lol, if there was ever a product that was dead-before-arrival, it would be this one. Does FB really expect people to trust their servers to store extremely personal and sensitive data such as heartbeat rate, oxygen level, and has more active/accessible microphones than smartphones, etc.?

Plus GPS locations. This is just a bad idea all around.

So FB built a phone and it failed, how many people bought a portal!? Wonder how they think this will be any different. Mark needs to realize people don’t trust Facebook anymore and they’re wasting their money on products maybe 10 people will buy

It’s like an ankle bracelet only instead of the cops following you around it’s Zuck, and you have to pay for it

What is wrong with these people? For fucks sake…

… so,

is this going to be like that Facebook Phone that was released in 2013 that we all know sold so very very well??

I’m sure what was needed to improve the uptake of Android Watch was (squints) making it more Facebook.

All this does is tell me corporate tax isn’t high enough if they have money to waste on this crap.

Yeeeeeaaahhhh…. nah.

"Love Facebook tracking you across the internet?"

"Now have the same creepy experience in the real world with the FaceWatch!"

No thanks, put that idea in the bin before the devices end up in landfill.

I guess people buy devices from google and they’re both essentially highly successful advertising companies. Imagine FB having even more data ! Scary.

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