Facebook Rumored to Launch Two Smart Speakers by July 2018

Back in July of last year, a report surfaced that said Facebook was planning on launching its own smart speaker, adding to the growing number of companies jumping on the bandwagon.

In January of this year, a subsequent report gave a few more details on what might be coming down the pipe from the social network giant. The smart speaker would be called “Portal”, and it would be priced at $499. For that price tag, owners would get a device with a 15-inch touchscreen panel, and a device that was designed to be a social hub, with video calling being the go-to reason to pick one up.

Now, DigiTimes has a report trying to nail down a few key details. First, it sounds like Facebook is actually planning on launching two smart speaker this year. The devices are codenamed “Aloha” and “Fiona”, with the former of the two being the high-end Portal smart speaker. Both devices are said to feature the 15-inch touchscreen, though, and there’s no specific reasoning in this report as to why one speaker would be priced higher than the other.

Both smart speakers, according to the report’s unnamed sources, are going to launch in July of this year at the latest:

“Facebook is set to officially foray into the global smart speaker market in mid-2018 by launching two new models, codenamed Aloha and Fiona – both with 15-inch touchscreens – in July at the latest, with the devices positioned as a way to allow family and friends to stay in touch with video chat and various social features, according to industry sources.”

The report does say that Facebook was originally planning to launch both smart speakers in May of this year, but Facebook delayed the launch to better tweak the acoustic performance of both speakers.

Our Take

The latest report on the Portal smart speaker from Facebook had the price set at $499, which, even now with the Google Home Max at $400 (and plenty of other options out there for similar price tags), seems exorbitant. Then again, if Facebook is planning to launch two smart speakers, it will be interesting to see how the features differentiate between the two to justify price changes.

Are you even remotely interested in a Facebook smart speaker?

[via DigiTimes]

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