Facebook’s smart speaker is now believed to launch in the final quarter of this year, after sources from the company’s upstream supply chain disclosed the plans of Mark Zuckerberg’s company for its Echo and HomePod competitor.
Digitimes learned from supply chain sources Monday that Facebook is planning to start mass producing its artificial intelligence-powered speaker in June. If true, then this means the social network giant is following its original schedule for the mass production of its upcoming hardware.
The sources also disclosed that Facebook is launching its smart speaker in October. Moreover, the firm is said to have modified its target volume for this year by cutting around 20 percent of orders from the original figure. On the other hand, Facebook is believed to keep its target volume for 2019 unchanged.
There was no official information on the launch date of Facebook’s smart speaker prior this. What’s only known was that the company had planned to unveil its smart speaker next month. Unfortunately, the plan fell through because the company got caught in a big controversy involving Cambridge Analytica.
Rumor has it that instead of just one smart device, Facebook is planning to introduce two smart speakers this year. Codenamed Fiona and Aloha, the two devices are said to be manufactured by Pegatron and come equipped with a 15-inch in-cell panel from LG Display.
Insiders claim Facebook is targeting different markets with the two smart speakers. Aloha is said to come with an adjustable display, making it more expensive than Fiona. However, Facebook hasn’t confirmed anything at this point so it’s best to remain skeptical.
The news comes days after it was revealed that Facebook is in the process of creating a team that will focus on developing and building chips for the company’s hardware products. As previously reported, sources familiar with the matter said Facebook is doing this to reduce its reliance on chipmakers Intel and Qualcomm for the processors of its upcoming products.
Facebook’s smart speakers do not have a specific launch date yet, but there are high expectations for the new devices especially after Apple’s HomePod failed to impress the market days after its release. The HomePod reportedly had very weak sales that Apple was forced to reduce its orders to its supply chain from 500,000 units per month to only 200,000.