Meta – the company formerly known as Facebook – has long said it’s planning a smartwatch. It’s a bold ambition, given the enduring popularity of the Apple Watch and other offerings such as Samsung and Garmin, but it looks like the company has some really innovative ideas to try and set the Facebook smartwatch apart from the most other devices on our best smartwatches list.
Whether people actually want Facebook on their wrist as well as their phones aside, the company has a mixed track record when it comes to hardware. The Oculus Quest 2 is rightly a smash hit, but the Facebook Portal is less so. And while few will remember the HTC ChaCha – a smartphone with a dedicated Facebook button – those who do will remember that it hardly set the world on fire.
Here’s everything we know about the Facebook Smartwatch so far.
Design of the Facebook connected watch
Although the quality varies wildly, there is very little hardware difference between one smartwatch and another at the moment. But suffice it to say that Facebook is planning a major disruption in this regard.
We’re apparently considering a detachable screen – something we haven’t seen since the Fitbit Blaze. But whereas the long-retired Fitbit let you remove the watch body to charge it, here it’s for photos and video. You can see what it might look like in a patent diagram below, discovered by GizChina.
According to The edge sources, the front of the screen will have a basic camera for video calls from the wrist (with a notch, unfortunately), but removing the screen from the case will reveal a 1080p autofocus camera for photos and the video. The idea is for users to capture both snaps and footage of their daily adventures for easy sharing with Facebook, much like the company’s recent glasses, Ray-Ban Stories.
This design also means that Meta is apparently considering unconventional ways to wear it when off the wrist. Two inside sources said the company is discussing the camera with third parties, meaning it could be mounted like a GoPro.
Another more conventional detail: apparently, the laptop is likely to be available in white, black or gold.
Facebook smartwatch features
The curious thing about a design that seems all about photography and video capture is that the first report of a Facebook smartwatch didn’t even mention the cameras.
Instead, the report, of information, claimed that the watch would focus on messaging and health. For the former, Facebook Messenger would be integrated, and for the latter, the company is apparently considering the possibility of ties with companies like Peloton.
Curiously, that first report also said that Facebook’s smartwatch wouldn’t need a smartphone to work, with the company apparently talking to carriers about LTE support. While that might sound odd, given that smartwatches’ most useful feature is notification delivery, it might at least make privacy-conscious users more inclined to give Facebook’s smartwatch a spin.
The watch will apparently run on a custom version of Android, but not on Wear OS. Although it is claimed that this is only for the first release, with subsequent upgrades moving to an operating system developed by Meta itself.
Possible release date and price of the Facebook Smartwatch
The first generation of Facebook Smartwatch is expected sometime in 2022, with a second generation version possibly following in 2023.
The Verge’s report indicates that Facebook’s smartwatch will be in the $400 region, which hopefully puts it firmly in Apple Watch territory.