Facebook is working on its first proper hardware and it happens to be a tablet centered on video calls. The device is being built at the company’s Building 8 lab, where it has been experimenting with the idea of putting out consumer hardware.
A report from Bloomberg believes that the tablet has a display about the size of the laptop. It’s meant to represent a new category of product, making it very different from anything else on the market today. That said, the description makes it sound very much like something science fiction writers dreamed up in the 1980s.
Facebook was also supposedly working on a smartspeaker, although the status of that plan is currently unknown. The intent was to be able to sell a low cost device that could undercut the competition. An explosion of similar devices onto the market has put Facebook’s product in limbo, and the company may ditch the device entirely.
In any case, Facebook has been hiring former Apple engineers to help build a Siri-like voice assistant. It’s uncertain as to how far along this is going, but Bloomberg has reported that prototypes of the video call tablet are already being tested in homes.
Hardware is not something new to Facebook. The company already owns Oculus, which sells the Rift VR headset. While the device wasn’t exactly built under Facebook’s supervision, it signaled a wider goal of building physical products to get people locked into the eco-system.