Facebook reportedly entering smart speaker fray, with two speakers set to launch in July

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The speakers are code-named Aloha and Fiona, with Aloha being the more impressive of the two.

So it seems like everybody wants to jump into the smart speaker business these days, though there have to be at least a handful of companies that we’d probably prefer stay out. Facebook may fall into that category of the latter, but in they seem to be jumping. Reports are telling us that Facebook intends to release two smart speakers in July of this year, both of which featuring large touchscreen interfaces for messaging and video chatting.

The speakers are code-named Aloha and Fiona, with Aloha being the more impressive of the two, having an expected marketing name of “Portal.” Portal is expected to pair its 15″ touchscreen with a wide-angle lens for facial recognition and logging individual users into Facebook. Users can also control the speaker via voice commands. In addition to its social networking features, Facebook has also apparently signed licensing deals with Sony and Universal Music to give the speaker something else to do.

The screens are said to be sourced from LG, and Taiwanese manufacturer Pegatron is said to be putting everything together, though both companies have declined to comment since nothing is official just yet. The speaker was designed by Facebook’s Building 8 hardware lab, with the team currently tweaking the audio performance and software updates to be sure that everything works as they hope it will. The smart speaker market is starting to get crowded, though Facebook hopes to differentiate themselves with their larger screen and facial recognition.

What do you think about Facebook releasing a pair of smart speakers? Would you want one? Or is Facebook already creepy and pervasive enough without a window directly into your home? Tell us what you think in the comment section below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: Digitimes
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