According to a report by The Information, Facebook is currently planning to introduce a smartwatch that would compete with the Apple Watch, the most successful wearable out there. This is allegedly scheduled for market launch as soon as 2022 and will be fully integrated with Facebook’s services, alerting the wearer about new messages or posts.
Of course, being a smartwatch, it’ll also offer health and fitness-related features and tracking capabilities, so it’s going to be more or less what one would expect from a device of this kind today.
This is not the first time Facebook is pushing in the consumer electronics category, but this time will signify a key difference if the report is true. Previously, Facebook introduced to Oculus VR headset and the Portal video-calling devices, but these didn’t have much value to the company’s data-collecting aspect of operations.
On the other side, a smartwatch could potentially gather the wearer’s position, habits, visit points, and a lot more that would be of extreme interest and value to Facebook. From that perspective, the social media giant is entering a new space, and the timing isn’t random.
The privacy-minded features introduced by Apple on the iOS 14 has given Facebook the cold sweats, as the company is essentially seeing the data tap being closed. Android is rumored to receive similar privacy-protection features in its next major version, as it can’t afford to stay behind iOS on that aspect. Thus, Facebook is losing its main business element here, and the developments unfold pretty quickly.
So, what is a tech giant with virtually endless money to do when its business model is threatened? One choice would be to pass to a new, different business model. Another would be to create products that will support that same profitable model.
For Facebook, the cost to develop a very good smartwatch is literally nothing, and we’re sure that they will price it very aggressively. This way, they’ll ensure that a large number of people will buy it, seeing it as a bargain, and they’ll get to “pay” a lot more with their data. That would include even people who don’t have Facebook accounts, which is even better for the company.
Of course, for now, all of the above is just assumptions and rumors. If and when this product is introduced to the market, Facebook will no doubt attempt to convince prospective buyers and also the consumer protection authorities of the way they anonymize any collected data and how the user is in control by having the choice to set what data is allowed to fly away through the settings.