Facebook is developing a smart watch that will focus on messaging and health features, according to a new report from The Information. Wearers will be able to send messages with Facebook services like Messenger and WhatsApp, and it will work with a cellular connection without a tethered smartphone.
Health features like options to track workouts with friends or communicate with trainers will be included, and the watch will be able to connect to services provided by health and fitness companies like Peloton. Facebook’s upcoming watch is said to run a version of Google’s Android software.
Facebook plans to sell the smart watch at close to its production cost, which is also what it does with the Oculus headset. There’s no word on what pricing will be, but competing products range in price from $150 to $400+.
It’s not likely a smart watch will go over well with those who have concerns about Facebook’s data collection. Amazon recently released a “Halo” fitness band that has been derided for its invasiveness. Facebook already makes some consumer hardware products including the aforementioned Oculus and Portal camera and tablet devices.
A Facebook smart watch would need to compete with the Apple Watch, which is one of the best selling wearables on the market. Just this morning, a report suggested that more than 100 million people globally own an Apple Watch. Facebook is also working on its own Ray-Ban branded smart glasses that would compete with rumored products coming from Apple in the next few years.
Facebook is aiming to start selling its smart watch next year, with a second-generation planned for as soon as 2023. The Information says that development is “far along,” but there’s always still a chance the product could be scrapped.