Meta smartwatch projects are cancelled, 11,000 jobs cut
Twitter is not the only tech company reducing staff count. Facebook parent Meta will be cutting 11,000 Jobs from its workforce. The company will exit its Portal smart display business and cease work on all smartwatch projects.
This is the first mass layoff in the social-media giant’s history. As reported by Reuters, all of this was revealed by executives on Friday during an employee town-hall meeting. The aim going forward will be to focus on metaverse technologies.
It was reported earlier this year Meta is slowing or pausing hiring for some positions, part of a broader plan to cut costs. It also cut back or eliminated some of its free services for its employees.
The news is further confirmation of Bloomberg’s article back in June. They reported at the time that work had stopped on development of Meta’s $349 smartwatch with two cameras. The device was expected to make its debut in the near future.
The article even posted a few pics of the abandoned timepiece. Its flagship feature are two cameras, a 5-megapixel one on the front and a 12-megapixel one positioned on the back. The first is for video calls, the second is detachable and comes with auto-focus for capturing quality photo and video footage. However there were some design issues with this.
The second camera was designed so users could remove the watch face from its strap to quickly take pictures. But the presence of the camera caused issues with another feature for translating nerve signals from the wrist into digital commands, the person said. Having that technical ability, known as electromyography, is a top priority for Meta.
As we reported earlier, the Android-powered Meta watch was supposed to have rich messaging features and tight social media integration. Health features such as a heart rate monitor were also planned, along with LTE connectivity. Battery life was said to be around 18 hours, so not that great.
The watch would come with applications such as Spotify, WhatsApp, Instagram Stories. There would also be a page for daily activity tracking, workouts, the photo gallery, heart rate monitoring, calendar, settings, and breathing.
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You can see a few images of the device below. Roughly square in shape with rounded edges, there’s what looks like a single physical button on the right-hand side.
Some had expected the device would make its debut as soon as this summer, but most of the expectations were for the spring of 2023. As things stand now, Meta is not in the smartwatch business.
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