Facebook reportedly wants more data on its users, and is developing a smartwatch to suck up as much health information as it can get.
The Information first reported on the social network’s smartwatch venture, noting that the watch will run Android. It’s not clear whether that means it’ll run on Google’s struggling Wear OS platform, however. Facebook could be working on its own operating system for future hardware projects, so the smartwatch may use that instead.
Further, the Facebook watch will reportedly have internet access through a cellular connection and wouldn’t need a smartphone. On top of that, the watch will offer messaging, health and fitness features, all of which will also feature compatibility with Facebook’s existing platforms.
Gizmodo notes that Facebook will likely leverage connections to its existing platforms as a way to one-up competitors like Fitbit or Apple. For example, the Facebook watch will reportedly let users track their workouts with friends or contact their trainer.
Facebook also has plans to make the watch compatible with health and fitness products from other companies, such as Peloton, as well as launch versions that can interact with Facebook’s future hardware projects, like augmented reality glasses.
The social network allegedly plans to launch the smartwatch’s first version next year, with a second-generation model coming in 2023. Further, the company intends to sell the watch for around the cost of producing it.
Considering Facebook’s penchant for privacy issues, it should be clear why handing over data to the company — especially health data — is a bad idea. There are plenty of unknowns about the watch, and while the report suggests Facebook is far along in development, it may never get released. If it does launch, I don’t see the Facebook watch becoming a massive success.