Taking on Amazon, Google and Apple, Facebook is now set to officially roll out two smart home speakers in 2018. According to a report in Taipai-based website DigiTimes, the two models — Aloha and Fiona with 15-inch touchscreens — will be launched around July. “Supply chain sources said that Facebook was originally slated to release the devices in May, but has decided to reschedule the launch to allow more time for perfecting the acoustic quality of the gadgets and software modification,” the report said on Wednesday.
Designed by Facebook’s Building 8 hardware lab, the Aloha model is reportedly more sophisticated than Fiona. “The Aloha model, to be marketed under the official name Portal, will use voice commands but will also feature facial recognition to identify users for accessing Facebook via a wide-angle lens on the front of the device,” the report added.
Facebook has signed music licensing contracts with Sony and Universal Music for smart home speakers. The Facebook move is going to further fuel the global smart speaker market. According to the market research firm Canalys, the global smart speakers market is likely to double to over 50 million units in 2018. Apple has launched “HomePod”, Amazon has “Echo” smart home speaker series, while Google offers “Home” and “Home Mini”.