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Facebook tipped to launch video-chat device and smart speaker


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We’ve already covered rumours that Facebook is working on a smart speaker. Now Bloomberg has fleshed those out with claims that there are actually two devices potentially on the way from the social network.

One is still a competitor for Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod, with the article claiming that “Facebook is hiring Apple Inc. veterans to help it create a Siri-style voice assistant” for the device.

But the second gadget is described as a “video chat device” with a laptop-sized touchscreen, designed for people to chat to one another via video-link.

“The device is in the prototype phase but is already being tested in people’s homes,” claimed Bloomberg, which suggested that the Siri-style voice assistant will also be used for this product.

“Geared to the living room, the video chat device will feature a wide-angle camera lens, microphones and speakers that are all powered by artificial intelligence to boost performance,” it reported.

“Facebook is testing a feature that would allow the camera to automatically scan for people in its range and lock onto them.”

No irony there, given Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s famous habit of sticking tape over his own laptop’s webcam for privacy’s sake.

Stuart Dredge

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