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Facebook To Join Apple, Google In The Smartwatch Fray With Device Launch Next Summer: Report

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) plans to launch a smartwatch next summer with heart monitoring capabilities and two cameras to make videos without the phone, according to The Verge

What Happened: Facebook’s smartwatch is expected to feature a display with two cameras that can be detached from the wrist for taking pictures and videos that can be shared across Facebook’s suite of apps, including Instagram, the report said.

The front camera on the watch will be primarily for video calling and the rear camera can be used for capturing footage when detached from the frame on the wrist, The Verge noted. The smartwatch also doubles up as a fitness device with a heart rate monitor.

Facebook reportedly aims to initially sell low six-figure volumes and plans to launch the first version of the watch in the summer of 2022 at about $400. The company is also working on second and third generations for subsequent years.

Why It Matters: The Menlo Park, California-based social media giant’s foray plan comes six years after tech rival Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) debut in the smartwatch category that is now fast-growing as it brings more customers to the iOS ecosystem. Apple sold 34 million watches last year, according to Counterpoint Research.

See Also: Apple Stifling Rivals In Heart-Rate Analysis On WatchOS Devices, Alleges Lawsuit

The move is being seen as Facebook’s attempt to compete with Apple and comes at a time when the two tech giants are at odds over privacy issues. Apple has limited the kinds of data that apps such as Facebook’s can collect.

The Mark Zuckerberg-led company and the top wireless carriers are working to support LTE connectivity in the watch, implying it won’t need to be paired with a phone to work, The Verge reported. 

The company, which tried to acquire fitness tracker and wearable maker Fitbit in 2019 before it was bought by Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL), could also shelve plans given its spotty track record for making hardware. 

Price Action: Facebook shares closed 1.03% lower at $330.25 on Thursday.

© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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