Meta abandons development of its dual-camera smartwatch
Another victim of Meta's cutbacks?By Rob Thubron
What just happened? Meta has reportedly halted the development of its dual-camera smartwatch after two years. The potential Apple Watch rival was due to arrive next spring with a $349 price point, but the Facebook parent has put those plans on hold as it works on other wrist-worn devices instead.
Last October, leaked images allegedly showed Meta's watch, referred to as 'Milan' in the code inside Facebook's app for its Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses. Its presence in the code suggested the same app could be used to control the watch once it was released.
However, it seems we won't be seeing this particular wearable for a long time, if at all. Citing a person with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg reports that employees working on the watch were told this week that the device is no longer on track for production. It's likely that cost cuts may have prompted the decision.
The watch had some interesting features: in addition to the 5MP camera/notch on the front, a second, 1080p auto-focus camera sat on the back that could capture footage when detached from the body. But it turns out that the rear camera was causing issues with the electromyography tech, which translates nerve signals from the wrist into digital commands.
Meta has talked about the potential applications of electromyography in the past, including using the technology to interact with its Metaverse (i.e., controlling virtual items or an avatar with your hands).
Meta is working on other wrist-worn devices, some of which could use features intended for Milan, such as tight integration with Facebook's social media platform, Wi-Fi, GPS, eSIM support, and 18 hours of battery life.
Last month brought news that Meta was making cutbacks within the Reality Labs division, the business focused on its hardware and metaverse aspirations. Reality Labs was down another $2.96 billion in the first quarter---a billion dollars more than the $1.83 billion it lost one year earlier---adding to the $10.2 billion the division hemorrhaged throughout 2021.