Only a fool would want a Facebook speaker now.Image: Ted Soqui/Getty ImagesBy Raymond Wong2018-03-28 16:16:49 UTC
So much for Facebook’s new smart speaker coming out to compete with the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod.
The social network is reportedly canceling its plans to announce its own smart speaker, similar to the Amazon Echo Show, at the F8 developer conference in May as it deals with the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal following reports that the firm harvested profile data from about 50 million users without their direct knowledge.
According to Bloomberg, Facebook is re-evaluating the rollout of its unannounced smart speaker hardware “to ensure that they make the right trade-offs regarding user data.”
Facebook had reportedly planned to introduce the smart speakers, which are said to come equipped with an array of microphones and a screen, at its upcoming developer conference, and then launch them in the fall.
But with the public now seemingly against Facebook and the amount of data it collects, the company has smartly decided “now may be the wrong time” to make any hardware announcements that ostensibly ask users for even more data.
Bloomberg says Facebook still plans to release the smart speakers “later this year,” but we wouldn’t be surprised if it gets pushed back again until the company can restore trust with users.
The setback could put a serious dent in Facebook’s plans to release physical hardware and compete with Amazon, Google, and Apple in the home. As the smart speaker war intensifies, consumers are starting to choose sides, and once they’ve picked, it’ll be hard for them to switch because of the ecosystem of devices they’re investing into.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologized for the Cambridge Analytica scandal and promised to do more to protect users information and ensure another situation like it never happens again. He’s even said he’ll testify before Congress on the mess “if it’s the right thing to do.”