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Facebook's smart speaker launch may have been delayed until October

How long will it take people to forget about the Cambridge Audio Audio Analytica scandal? Possibly another six months...

Published onApril 24, 2018

Lenovo Smart Display.
The Lenovo Smart Display.
  • Facebook’s smart speakers are now tipped to arrive in October, months after the first reported launch date.
  • The social network has reportedly cut order volumes for 2018, but left 2019 volumes unchanged.
  • Facebook will be entering a tough market currently dominated by Amazon.

Earlier this year, we heard that Facebook smart speakers were set for a July launch. Now, it seems like the company may have moved the launch to Q4 2018 instead.

According to DigiTimes, citing sources in the “upstream supply chain,” mass production of the smart speakers will kick off in June as originally planned. However, the launch date has reportedly been moved to October. It’s believed that the order volume for 2018 has been slashed by 20 percent, but that 2019 orders are unchanged.

News of a delayed product launch seems to line up with Bloomberg‘s article last month. The business outlet reported that Facebook originally planned to unveil the smart speakers at its F8 developer conference in May. It’s claimed that the smart speakers were delayed due to the Cambridge Audio Analytica data scandal.

Would you buy Facebook smart speakers?

The two smart speakers are tipped to feature 15-inch touchscreen displays, drawing parallels to the Amazon Echo Show and Google Smart Display family. And much like the Amazon and Google products, Facebook’s speakers are set to deliver video chat and music streaming features.

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The real question is whether consumers will want a Facebook-owned smart speaker in their home. Concerns about an always-listening speaker have prompted the likes of Apple, Google and Amazon to build mute functionality into their devices (both Google and Amazon’s products have dedicated mute keys). Facebook may include the same with its smart speaker, but in the wake of the recent scandal, consumers might be uncomfortable with installing such a Facebook device intended inside their home. Particularly when it’s designed to pick up voices from anywhere in a room.

Then there’s the question of sales, as Apple’s HomePod sales are reportedly way below expectations. Amazon’s Echo products also seem to have a big early lead over Google in both the U.S. and Europe. Any new entrant would face a huge uphill challenge, let alone an embattled company like Facebook.

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