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1

ID: 219139

URL: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/10/image-in-facebook-app-may-show-metas-upcoming-apple-watch-rival/

Date: 2021-10-29

Image in Facebook app may show Meta’s upcoming Apple Watch rival

A Meta smart watch with at least one camera could be on the way. Facebook just won't stay idle. After announcing on Thursday that Facebook's parent company will be changing its name to Meta, it seems the tech giant may be planning another big move that it hasn't even mentioned yet. An image spotted on one of its apps suggests that the company is working on a smartwatch to compete with the likes of the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy watches. As reported by Bloomberg last night, an app developer named Steve Moser spotted an image of a smartwatch on Facebook View, an app for controlling the Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses. The publication described the picture as showing a smartwatch with rounded corners, a button on the side, and a white band that is reportedly detachable. Meta has not commented on the report. On the watch's face is a notch for an integrated camera, which could allow support for video calls. This would be a standout feature, as Apple and Samsung smartwatches don't have cameras. In June, The Verge said we will see a Facebook smartwatch with two cameras—one on the front for video calls and one on the back for taking photos and video. An unnamed "person with knowledge of the matter" told Bloomberg that there are plans to launch a smartwatch in 2022 or later, but the release date is tentative. The statement affirms The Verge's June report, which claimed the smartwatch would come out in the summer of 2022. Bloomberg's source also said Meta is working on three generations of smartwatches with varying release dates. But without any word from the company, any Meta or Facebook smartwatch is still just a rumor.  As acknowledged by Bloomberg, the image in question may not even represent an actual product. Still, a Meta smartwatch isn't hard to imagine, and it fits with the brand's interest in emerging hardware categories and tech-driven fitness. Of course, there are many unanswered questions here. Chief among them, why was there no mention of the product at yesterday's big Connect event? The company openly discussed its AR smart glasses, even though Zuckerberg acknowledged there's "still a ways to go" until the product is ready. We also heard about Project Cambria, plans for a high-end VR headset. Maybe there was too much going on yesterday. Or maybe Meta's just playing it cool, since smartwatches would be a new category for the company. Only time will tell.