According to a recent report from Taiwan, Facebook is working on its own smart speaker similar to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. However, unlike those two products, Facebook's smart speaker will reportedly lack voice recognition capabilities and will instead rely on a 15-inch touchscreen for user input. The smart speaker is reportedly a product of Facebook’s Building 8 division, which is the company’s somewhat secretive lab focused on developing new technologies.
The recent report goes on to mention that Facebook's smart speaker will be manufactured by Pegatron Technologies; the same company responsible for producing some of Apple’s iPhones and the Microsoft Surface series. Pegatron Technologies reportedly already started a pilot production run of Facebook’s Internet of Things (IoT) gadget at its factories in China, though the company has yet to comment on the matter in any capacity. Either way, according to the source, the smart speaker will feature a magnesium-aluminum-alloy chassis and will adopt a 15-inch in-cell LCD touchscreen which will be supplied by LG Display. No other details regarding hardware specifications of the device have been revealed so far, though the currently available information suggests that Facebook may want to focus on providing a superior listening experience with the device and possibly compete with Apple’s HomePod and similar solutions rather than creating a smart speaker that's primarily focused on an artificial intelligence (AI) assistant.
The mysterious Facebook smart speaker will reportedly be ready for a market release in the first quarter of 2018, though no other details regarding its availability and pricing have emerged as of this writing. In any case, it’s worth noting that Facebook’s Building 8 division was also previously rumored to be working on a camera and a device focused on augmented reality (AR). More recently, Facebook’s Building 8 division submitted a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a “modular electromechanical device” which could be based on the concept of modular smartphones. However, no other details have been confirmed in regards to these projects, so there is a possibility that Facebook's smart speaker at hand could be the next hardware product to come out of the company's Building 8 within the next year or so.