Meta Halts Development of Unreleased Smartwatches, Focuses on AR Glasses Instead

Meta has abruptly abandoned its aspirations to produce a health and messaging-focused smartwatch that was supposed to compete with the Apple Watch.

In an attempt to minimize costs ahead of upcoming organizational changes, employees were reportedly informed on Friday, Nov. 11, that development of the company’s wearable will be suspended.

According to Andrew Bosworth’s statement, Meta’s chief technology officer and head of the company’s Reality Labs division, the smartwatch development team will soon begin working on augmented reality (AR) glasses.

Canceled Smartwatch Project

In a recent article published by MacRumors, reports initially surfaced in February 2021 that Meta was developing a smartwatch. It is said that the unit would include a detachable display and two cameras for capturing and sharing photos and videos on social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Early news indicated that Meta designed the gadget to function over a cellular connection independently of a smartphone. It would also run a modified version of Google’s Android operating system. 

The tech company further intended to collaborate with other businesses to develop attachments that would enable the detachable display to be put on backpacks and similar items.

Read Also: 10 Meta Investors Already Lost $211 Billion Amid Metaverse Focus by Mark Zuckerberg

Shutting Down of Portal

Based on Reuters’ report, Meta’s internal restructuring has resulted in the cancellation of both the Portal and the smartwatch projects. Portal, a line of smart displays introduced in 2018, allows users to make video calls with apps like WhatsApp and Facebook, which Meta owns.

Portal, despite its many iterations, failed to gain traction in the consumer market, and Meta’s efforts to sell it in the business sector also fell flat. 

For as long as stocks remain, the business will keep selling Portal-branded smart screens through the end of the year.

According to reports, this was not unexpected, given that Meta and Facebook’s main product is social interaction in the form of the Messenger app, which includes a video call function. Besides this, the product line has not been getting as much traction compared to its rivals.

Layoffs at Meta

In a town hall meeting, business management revealed that they had chosen to lay off around 13% of Meta’s personnel this week, including the people working on the products that the company is abandoning.

According to The Verge’s report, around 11,000 people lost their jobs as a direct consequence of the company’s decision. In Meta’s 18-year existence, this is the first and largest round of layoffs.

This move by the company came as a result of reassessing its plans against worries from investors over the billion-funded initiatives that are not represented in its sales.

In a message announcing the change, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that lower-than-expected revenue was the consequence of a number of factors, including his own bad judgments, the financial slump, increasing competition, and the loss of advertisements signal.

Related Article: Mark Zuckerberg News: Meta is Down 73%, and Amid Mass Layoffs, Jet Uses Over $17K in Fuel

This article is owned by Tech Times

Written by Trisha Kae Andrada 

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