Facebook said to be prepping a pair of smart speakers
Once the Amazon Echo and its Alexa virtual assistant caught on with the public, other tech firms started to offer their own versions of the device. Google released the Home series featuring Google Assistant, Microsoft launched the Invoke with Cortana and earlier this month the Apple HomePod came to market with Siri. Samsung is said to be working on a smart speaker of its own that will feature Bixby. The number of smart speakers estimated to ship globally in 2018 will double from last year's deliveries to reach more than 50 million units, according to analytical firm Canalys.
The model codenamed Aloha will retail as the Portal, according to industry sources, and will have more social media functions than the unit with the Fiona codename. The Aloha will also offer facial recognition through the use of a wide-angle camera on the top of the unit. This will allow users of this device to quickly sign into Facebook by using their face.
Originally scheduled to be released in May, Facebook has pushed back the launch of its smart speakers until July. The industry sources say that Facebook wants more time to perfect the acoustics of its smart speakers. There is no word on which virtual assistant will be employed on Facebook's two devices.