Development of a smartwatch that was going to feature dual cameras was stopped by Meta Platforms (META) – Get Meta Platforms Inc. Reportthe parent company of Facebook, a source told Bloomberg.
The social media company is working on the development of other devices that will be worn on the wrist, Bloomberg reported.
Meta Platforms did not immediately respond with a comment.
Apple ( (AAPL) – Get Apple Inc. Report), the iPhone and Mac maker, has been the dominant player of the smartwatch industry since its debut of the Apple Watch in 2015. Now Apple has three options – Series 3, SE, and Series 7 that track activity and workouts, accepts phone calls and return messages.
For the past two years, Meta had been working on its version of a smartwatch that mirrored its competitors by offering messaging, playing music and tracking activity, Bloomberg said.
The prototype of the device would have offered consumers two cameras, which the Apple Watch lacks. Based on both images and a video that was seen by Bloomberg, Meta’s smartwatch prototype placed one camera below the display area and another one was put on the backside that would touch the wrist of the person wearing it.
The premise for the second camera was so that people could take off the watch and take photos within seconds.
The second camera’s placement interrupted the ability of the smartwatch to understand nerve signals from the wrist into digital commands, the source told Bloomberg.
The technical ability is called electromyography and is an important goal for the social media company.
Scroll to Continue
Meta has said electromyography would benefit users because they could effectively use their hands as a “controller” to operate other devices, such as those that would be used in the metaverse.
The company said the technology is “about decoding those signals at the wrist — the actions you’ve already decided to perform — and translating them into digital commands for your device,” according to a blog post from Meta.
One priority Meta has emphasized is working on additions and options for its metaverse where people would play games and interact with each other via avatars.
Any sensors on the wrist could be used to control their own avatar in the metaverse or watch by using augmented reality glasses.
Meta had told its employees this week to stop working on Milan, the code name for the smartwatch. The original plan was to sell the watches in spring 2023 for $349.
In comparison, the Apple Watch Series 7 sells for $329 to $459, depending on the options.
Meta said during its earnings call in April that it was slashing costs by halting the hiring of some executives and focusing its efforts on some projects compared to others, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during the call. The company plans to spend $3 billion less on expenses as the economy retreats and consumers have pulled back on their purchases.
Bloomberg said it was able to see the prototype of the watch that included features such as an 18-hour battery life, a removable watch face, dual cameras on the front and back side, cellular and WiFi connectivity, apps for workouts, daily movement, heart rate monitoring, breathing and for Instagram Stories, Spotify and WhatsApp.