Facebook could be planning to suck up even more of your data, according to reports that the tech giant is working on a smartwatch with health-related features.
According to sources who are directly involved in the project, The Information reports that Facebook wants to make its own competitor to the Apple Watch. The company wants to start selling the device as early as next year, suggesting that development is already well underway.
The heath features would reportedly include integration with popular fitness platforms, presumably those like Peloton for joining classes and Strava for recording walks, runs, bike rides, and other kinds of exercise. One could assume that a Facebook smartwatch would have features like step counting and heart rate monitoring as well.
But the health features aren’t the only plan for the purported smartwatch. It would also apparently have a focus on messaging. The watch would include a cellular connection with no smartphone required, so it would be able to receive (and presumably send) messages even if you didn’t have your phone with you. That could be handy for heading out for a run without needing to take a bulky phone with you. The watch will be integrated with Facebook Messenger, and although it hasn’t been specified yet, given Facebook’s ownership of the WhatsApp platform the watch might be able to send and receive WhatsApp messages too.
This would expand on Facebook’s move into hardware, with its products like the Oculus VR headsets and the Portal smart home device. However, concerns over privacy and Facebook’s collection of user data mean people may be wary about allowing Facebook access to their health data via a smartwatch.
Other details of the smartwatch revealed by The Information include a price around the cost of production, likely in the several hundred dollars range, and that it would run on the Android operating system. If the release goes ahead as expected next year, a second-generation version of the device could be available as soon as 2023.
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