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Report: Facebook Developing Android-Based Smartwatch

By Eric Volkman - Feb 12, 2021 at 8:00PM

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The social media company continues to push further into the tech hardware market.

Facebook (FB 0.71%) is venturing into a familiar hardware technology segment. According to a story published Friday in The Information, the social media giant is developing a smartwatch.

Citing "people familiar with the device," the article said that Facebook's timepiece will initially run on Alphabet's (GOOGL -1.38%)(GOOG -1.48%) Android operating system (OS). However, according to the article's sources, the company is developing a proprietary OS that future versions of the watch will presumably utilize.

Person in activewear looking at their smartwatch.

Image source: Getty Images.

As with other smartwatches on the market, Facebook's offering will feature health and fitness apps, in addition to messaging capability.

Facebook has had big ambitions in the hardware space for years. Most notably, it bought high-profile virtual reality (VR) company Oculus for $3 billion in 2014. It also rolled out its Portal TV video communication system in late 2019.

Oculus remains a leader in VR technology. While Portal TV received many lukewarm or even poor reviews upon launch, it has sold well recently due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has boosted reliance on digital communication.

It was not immediately clear how Facebook's smartwatch will connect with any of the company's devices currently on the market.

While a push into smartwatches is a logical move into a complementary hardware category, it will put Facebook in direct competition with the likes of Apple and Alphabet's Fitbit. Unless the company somehow distinguishes its product, it will have a tough fight on its hands against such successful rivals in the segment.

On Friday, Facebook stock essentially traded sideways. It was outpaced by the 0.5% rise of the S&P 500 index.

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