Facebook Has Reportedly Delayed the Unveiling of its Smart Speaker

Way back in July of last year, it was reported that, like so many other companies, Facebook was working on its first smart speaker.

Since then, things have changed quite a bit for Facebook. The gigantic social network has been under constant scrutiny due to an ongoing privacy issue. That extends to the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, all the way to the revelation that the social network’s Android app works to collect detailed call logs and SMS data — as long as you give it permission to do that. All of these things have snowballed, with the avalanche being the “#deletefacebook” movement.

Now, the issues and subsequent backlash from the public has apparently made Facebook decide that it’s not a good time to launch any brand new products, especially a smart speaker that would effectively always be listening inside people’s homes. That’s according to a new report from Bloomberg, which states that the social network was originally planning on unveiling its first smart speaker during its F8 developer conference in May.

Now, Facebook is thinking this “may be the wrong time” to launch a smart speaker, and, as such, has decided to delay the device’s unveiling until sometime later this year. As it stands, Facebook is reportedly planning on actually launching two different smart speakers, one of which is called Portal, that has a large touchscreen display, while the other would be a smart speaker without the display, and would sell for slightly cheaper than the larger, display-equipped model.

Facebook is reportedly conducting a “deeper review” of how it collects data, especially as it pertains to the smart speaker, which is one of the reasons they have delayed its unveiling. Facebook still plans on launching the new devices sometime in the fall of this year, though, but it sounds like the time between announcement and launch will be much smaller.

Our Take

Delaying the unveiling is a good plan. Then again, it probably won’t matter, because it’s hard to imagine that Facebook’s role in collecting user data will stop being a topic of conversation any time soon. People were already talking about it before the Cambridge Analytica debacle, and it definitely cropped up when the first report of the company’s smart speaker plans were revealed.

Would you buy a Facebook smart speaker?

[via Bloomberg]