Facebook to launch smart speakers Aloha and Fiona in July 2018

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Facebook is working on two smart speakers with 15-inch displays and the launch might happen in July. According to a report from Taiwan’s DigiTimes, Facebook aims to position the smart speakers as the devices to allow family and friends to keep in touch through video chat and other social features. The smart speakers are code-named Aloha and Fiona, respectively.

The report further says the devices will feature touchscreens built by LG Display, while Taiwan’s Pegatron has been assigned the duty to manufacture the smart speakers. Aloha is reportedly the code-name of Facebook’s Portal, a $499 (or approx Rs 31,898) that was rumoured to launch at CES 2018. DigiTimes claims the Portal will feature a wide-angle lens in front of the device to enable video calls. It will also have some sort of facial recognition features built-in to login into Facebook instantly. The 15-inch Facebook Portal is double the size of Amazon Echo Show, which sports a 7-inch display.

Bloomberg first reported that Facebook might be working on a video chat device – a smart speaker that would rival the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The speaker would come with a “siri-style voice assistant”, The smart speakers are expected to be the first devices to be coming from Facebook’s  Building 8,  a secretive division working on upcoming devices.

Facebook has been trying to get into the smart speaker segment for a while now. However, the competition in this space is getting tough, as more and more companies are looking forward to launching voice-controlled speakers. Last week, Apple finally made the HomePod available in the US, UK, and Australia. This is the company’s first smart speaker powered by Siri voice-assistant. Apple’s HomePod retails for $349 (0r approx Rs 22,316).

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