Who knows? The rumored Facebook Watch could have been a worthy competitor to the highly praised Apple Watch, but according to a new Bloomberg report, we'll never know.
Citing "a person with knowledge of the matter," Bloomberg claims that Meta, the parent company of Facebook, halted the development of the Facebook smartwatch to focus on other wrist-based devices.
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What features did the Facebook smartwatch have?
Facebook never publicly announced its plans to roll out a smartwatch, but rumors about the project flooded the tech sphere. Last year, The Verge claimed that Meta was working on a wrist-worn device with two cameras that can take photos and videos that can be shared across the social media giant's app family (e.g. Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook).
A prototype of the smartwatch reportedly sported a five-megapixel camera near the display for video calls. It also had a 12-megapixel camera, situated on the back, that could be detached from the watch's stainless-steel frame. The Verge also discovered that Meta was in talks with other companies to produce accessories for the watch, allowing users to attach it to backpacks and other products.
It was purportedly designed for tracking activities, monitoring heart rate, enabling music playback, facilitating messaging, and more.
Why Facebook reportedly ditched its smartwatch plans
There was scuttlebutt that Meta aimed to release the Facebook smartwatch in spring 2023 with a price tag of $349, however, as mentioned, Bloomberg claims that the project is now dead.
Engineers allegedly had issues with the second camera located on the backside of the smartwatch. Citing an unnamed source, Bloomberg said, "the presence of the camera caused issues with another feature translating nerve signals from the wrist into digital commands." This nerve-signal feature is called electromyography, and it was a top priority for Meta because it wanted to differentiate its smartwatch from competitors.
Although the dual-camera smartwatch (codenamed Milan) is reportedly no longer in the works, Meta still has its sights set on releasing other wrist-worn devices that could accompany users into the metaverse.
Bloomberg suspects that cost-cutting is another reason that Meta scrapped its smartwatch plans. After all, as Bloomberg pointed out, Meta admitted that it would decrease the company's yearly expenses by $3 billion on an April earnings call.
That's too bad! The Apple Watch could use some competition; Facebook might have been able to surprise the masses and release a cutthroat rival. Fortunately, we still have the Pixel Watch on the way. We can't wait to see how it stacks up against the Apple Watch.