According to a photograph of the device spotted inside one of the internet giant’s iPhone apps, Meta Platforms, the firm formerly known as Facebook, is working on a smartwatch with a front-facing camera and rounded screen.
A watch with a slightly curved screen and casing is shown in the photograph. The front-facing camera is located at the bottom of the display, similar to what you’d see on a smartphone, and there’s a control button for the watch on the right side.
The image was discovered in the company’s programme for operating its new smart glasses, which were released in collaboration with Ray-Ban. Steve Moser, an app developer, discovered the image and shared it with Bloomberg News. A spokesperson for Meta declined to comment.
The watch includes a detachable wrist strap and a button on the top of the case that seems to be a button. Instead of the more simple fitness trackers sold by Google’s Fitbit and Garmin, it has a huge display that resembles Apple’s watch. The camera indicates that the device would most likely be used for video conferencing, which would make Meta’s device unique. Apple’s smartwatch, like rival offerings from firms like Samsung, lacks a camera.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Facebook had planned to introduce its first watch as early as 2022, but a final decision on the date has yet to be made, and the debut could be delayed. According to the source, the corporation is working on three generations of the device, each with a separate release date. The item shown in the image could be a prototype that will never be launched, but it is the first indication of the company’s involvement in the project.
The Verge previously reported on Facebook’s watch plans, speculating that the gadgets could contain a heart-rate sensor.
The existence of the image in the Facebook View glasses app could signal that the watch will be controlled by that app on iPhones and Android devices as well. The watch might be dubbed “Milan” according to code found in the firmware. The code also shows that the camera will be able to take photos and videos, as well as download them to a phone.
Meta presently sells virtual reality headsets and Portal video-chat devices, so a smartwatch would be a new big hardware segment for the company. The business announced on Thursday that it is developing a new high-end headset called “Project Cambria” that combines virtual and augmented reality. A future watch, according to Meta, might be used as an input device or accessory for its headsets.
If Meta releases the watch next year, it will compete with Apple’s next generation of devices. According to Bloomberg, Apple is developing three new Apple Watches for 2022, including a Series 8 with a body temperature sensor, a new low-end Apple Watch SE, and a robust device aimed at athletes.
Meta and Apple have been at odds over app store restrictions and privacy improvements to the iPhone operating system, and a move into smartwatches would exacerbate their feud. Apple is also preparing to release its first mixed-reality headgear as early as next year, competing with the high-end Meta headset.
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