Smartwatch Market to See Facebook in 2022
According to a news report, starting next year, Facebook will start selling its smartwatch at cost to get a foothold into the health and wellness market.
Facebook will be the latest tech giant to enter the smartwatch market, according to sources who spoke to the tech news site The Information. The device will offer yet another way to send and read dispatches on Facebook services like Messenger and WhatsApp and it will track workouts, share fitness progress with friends and have interconnectivity with the fitness companies like Peloton.
Facebook will sell the as-yet-unnamed device close to its production cost, according to The Information, a sign the initial goal is to just get a foothold in the crowded smartwatch market, predicted to grow to $96 billion by 2027, partially due to a growth in demand for fitness devices.
The Apple Watch has dominated the space, owning 50 percent or more of the smartwatch market at various times in the last decade, but as demand grows, companies like Samsung and Huawei have made inroads with their smartwatches. Amazon launched a bargain smartwatch, the Halo, initially selling it for a mere $65 and Google recently acquired industry pioneer Fitbit, securing a large swath of the smartwatch market.
Naturally, Facebook would want a piece of this action. However, the social media company has struggled to translate its omnipresence in social media into a hardware division. In 2014, it purchased Oculus, maker of virtual reality hardware and two years later opened a research and development lab called Building 8. That project was reorganized into oblivion, its only legacy a video chat device called Portal that has failed to pick up much traction. Perhaps, consumers were not eager to buy a listening and video device from a company plagued by privacy scandals. Facebook is now working on smart glasses in collaboration with Ray-Ban.
The Information report said the Facebook is scheduling the launch of its smartwatch next year with a second generation planned for as soon as 2023 and also notes there is a chance the product could be scrapped.
Facebook changed the internet — and the world — by popularizing and creating many of the standard facets of social media in the mid-00s, acting as much like a public utility on which people rely for communications than a website. The brand has been battered by the Cambridge Analytical data breach scandal, its role in misinformation campaigns, anti-trust and monopolization investigations and research hinting an association with social media use and loneliness and depression. Forty-four percent of social media users had a negative view of it in one survey.
While Facebook remains inescapable for many communication purposes, the public ill will may prevent people from buying an item associated with the company, creating challenges for Facebook’s growth into markets it doesn’t already dominate.
Nick Keppler is a freelance journalist, writer and editor. He enjoys writing the difficult stories, the ones that make him pore over studies, talk about subjects that make people uncomfortable, and explain concepts that have taken years to develop. Nick has written extensively about psychology, healthcare, and public policy for national publications and for those locally- based in Pittsburgh. In addition to Athletech News, Nick has written for The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Vice, Slate, Reuters, CityLab, Men’s Health, The Gizmodo Media Group, The Financial Times, Mental Floss, The Village Voice and AlterNet. His journalistic heroes include Jon Ronson, Jon Krakauer and Norah Vincent.