Facebook is working on a video chat device for the home
Facebook is set to announce the first hardware product from its Building 8 lab at the next F8 developer conference next spring. The product, a touch screen video chat device, is meant for home use.
The device is currently in the prototyping phase and will make video chat easier for home users. If this sounds a lot like the Echo Show, that is because it is. Unlike the Echo Show and Amazon, Facebook will have a much larger user base to promote the device.
The device will have a large screen the size of a laptop and have smart camera technology. The camera will zoom in on the person, regardless of where they are in the field-of-vision of the camera.
The Building 8 hardware lab was set up to further Facebook’s hardware ambitions. The hardware lab is full of hardware veterans and is run by former Googler Regina Dugan. Her goal is to “create and ship new, category-defining consumer products that are social first”. A home video chat device fits perfectly in that category.
The plan is to use hardware and software to further tie people into the Facebook ecosystem. Facebook messenger is growing fast and is only second to its sister service WhatsApp. With a hardware device tied into the Facebook Messenger social graph, the chances of success are might higher.
Rumors indicate that the device will retail for a few hundred dollars, targeting families, especially those with family members away often.