Facebook, through its Building 8 division, is preparing to release a new communications device and based on the limited information currently available, this will be positioned as a direct competitor to Amazon’s Echo Show. This information comes from a new report out of Business Insider which in turn credits “people familiar with knowledge of the device” for the details. Adding support to a similar report which emerged at the start of August stating Facebook is working on a new video chat device.
The device is currently going by the Aloha name, although that could change by the time the device hits the market. In either case, this is expected to be a touchscreen device which comes equipped with a camera and speakers. Likely as a result of utilizing Facebook’s technology, Aloha is said to be able to identify people automatically when they are in shot. This is largely the extent to the information now available on the functionality of the device, although there are quite a few add-in pieces of information about the device in general. For instance, the report states that the price point Facebook is currently looking at is $499 for the device. Although, this is something that is fluid at the moment and subject to change. Likewise, Aloha is currently expected to launch in May of 2018 - although this is another aspect that could change in due course.
One of the reasons suggested for the availability and naming details being so undecided is that Facebook is reportedly trying to offset against privacy concerns that may arise from such a product, prior to its release. As the report explains that in addition to the unit already being in a testing state in employee homes, the company has been conducting market research on the product. The results of which suggest that consumers may be concerned about privacy with Facebook releasing such a product. Which has led to the suggestion that the device may be released under a different (and new) brand name, instead of Facebook. Therefore, until the naming and branding of the device has been firmly decided on, the launch date for the product will likely remain undecided.