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Facebook builds smartwatch with health features

facebook watch

Facebook Inc is building a smartwatch that will let users send messages and also offer health and fitness features,  according to a report on the tech website The Information reported on Friday, citing people with direct knowledge of the device.

The social media giant plans to start selling the device next year, according to the report, a move that would mark its entry into a market currently dominated by Apple Inc and Huawei.

Facebook’s smartwatch will work via a cellular connection, letting users send messages through its services and also connect to the services or hardware of health and fitness companies, such as Peloton Interactive, according to the report.

“Facebook’s planned foray into smartwatches would inch the company further toward CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s aim of controlling the next computing platforms after smartphones. In recent years, the social network has expanded into selling consumer hardware, introducing Oculus virtual reality headsets and its Portal lineup of video-calling devices for the home. But it has not yet entered the smartwatch market popularised by companies like Apple, Huawei and Fitbit, which is now owned by Google,” the report said.

The Facebook device could run an open-source version of Android to start, but Facebook is reportedly also developing its own operating system for future wearables, according to a report on Appleinsider.

The Facebook watch is said to focus on health and messaging. It could integrate tightly with Facebook’s existing Messenger platform and would place particular emphasis on social networking — including a focus on “quick interactions” with other users, the report noted.

The device could reportedly allow users to track workouts, communicate with trainers, and possibly connect to existing services like Peloton. Additionally, the device is expected to feature cellular connectivity so that it can function without a nearby smartphone.

To gain market share in a segment dominated by the Apple Watch, Facebook may offer its smartwatch close to the cost to produce it. The device could debut in 2022, with a second generation possibly arriving the following year.

Menlo Park, California-based Facebook has been foraying into the hardware sector in recent years, coming up with products including virtual reality headset Oculus and video chatting device Portal.

Facebook did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

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