Facebook delays smart speaker launch until October due to Cambridge Analytica scandal

Facebook has reportedly delayed the launch of its smart speaker and has lowered the production.

  • Published: April 23, 2018 5:17 PM IST

Facebook will not launch its smart speaker at next month’s annual developer conference in California. The social media has reportedly delayed the launch of its own smart speaker until October due to the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal and call for more privacy controls on the platform.

Amazon was one of the first to debut smart speakers with Alexa digital voice assistant in 2014. Google and Apple have joined the race with Google Home and HomePod smart speakers recently. Facebook was rumored to be the next big player in this space but Digitimes reports that these speakers will begin mass production only in June. The production for the device is very much inline with the older schedule but Facebook has cut production by 20 percent for 2018 from its original plan.

The product launch is now estimated to happen in October, Digitimes says quoting sources in the upstream supply chain. The order volumes for 2019 remain unchanged says the report. The social media giant plans was initially expected to launch two smart speakers in May but has been pushed back to October after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was summoned to the US Congress to testify regarding company’s privacy policy.

Facebook’s smart speakers are said to be codenamed Fiona and Aloha and both are believed to have a 15-inch in-cell panel made by LG Display. Pegatron is the sole manufacturer of the two devices and Aloha could be more expensive of the two models.

This isn’t the first time that we are hearing about Facebook delaying the launch of its smart speakers. A Facebook spokesperson told Bloomberg that the speaker was being held back “to ensure that they make the right trade-offs regarding user data.”

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Facebook is going through its difficult phase yet with the company acknowledging that its platform may have been used by Russia’s Internet Research Agency to influence US Presidential Elections. It also confirmed that UK-based Cambridge Analytica used the platform to scrape information of about 87 million users. By delaying the launch, Facebook is averting the situation of its new devices being missing out amidst the negative publicity. However, when the device comes out in October, it will have to answer whether it is putting user privacy ahead of ad revenue with the new speakers.

  • Published Date: April 23, 2018 5:17 PM IST