A rendering of how a Facebook Watch might look with the Meta logo on it.

Facebook Smartwatch Plans Scrapped: What It Could Have Been

Meta's dual-camera Apple Watch competitor has been canceled

Facebook began developing a smartwatch codenamed Milan, but scrapped the project before a release. Likely called the Facebook smartwatch or Meta watch, it would have had a removable display and two cameras.

Will a Facebook Smartwatch Ever Be Released?

In January 2022, a patent Facebook filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization was approved that details a "Detachable camera block for a wearable device." You can read through the patent via this PDF hosted by LetsGoDigital.

As the photos below show, Meta went as far as building the hardware, so it wasn't just stuck in the patent stages. Plus, Facebook selling hardware like this isn't a new idea—they sold the HTC First phone, Quest VR headset, and Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses.

The latest news, according to that report, is that Meta "halted development of a smartwatch with dual cameras and is instead working on other devices for the wrist," and that "the device is no longer on track for production." It was originally planned for release in spring 2023.

This doesn't necessarily mean a smartwatch is out of the picture in the future. But it does mean that this particular device won't proceed any further. In fact, in late 2021, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said there might have been three generations of the Facebook smartwatch, each with a different release time frame.

Could we see a one-camera watch in a few years, or even this same watch resurrected later on? Sure. But this particular Facebook smartwatch is dead. At least for now.

How Much Would a Facebook Smartwatch Cost?

The social media giant has a massive user base, so it makes sense a Meta- or Facebook-branded smartwatch could take off in sales. But, there are already several competitors in this market, including Apple, Samsung, Google, and Garmin.

The price is right up there, with features, as a deciding factor when users make a purchase. We already suspect privacy would be a considerable concern for potential buyers, so Facebook could offer a watch at a better price than its competitors to pull in more buyers.

According to the Bloomberg report, the watch would have had a price point around $349. This is just under the $400 Apple Watch.

Facebook Smartwatch Features

We can confidently assume this watch would have had features you'd find in your average smartwatch. These include fitness and sleep tracking, capturing notifications from your phone for easy viewing on your wrist, music apps like Spotify, messaging apps like WhatsApp, and contactless payments. Apps would be managed through the user's Facebook account.

There might have also been advanced tech like skin temperature sensing, heart rate monitoring, and blood sugar detection. But those could be reserved for the Meta Watch 2 or some other future version of the device.

All of that sounds fine and expected in any modern smartwatch. But given what we know about Facebook, it's doubtful its features would stop there. Referred to by some as a data harvester first, before a social network, Facebook's history of information sharing and, of course, Facebook's data leaks leaves little to the imagination as to why you might be concerned about using a watch from Facebook.

In short, a Facebook smartwatch is a bad idea for one reason: it's a huge privacy risk. When you consider it might have a camera and will most assuredly have access to your phone (texts, emails, calls, location, etc.), it's pretty clear the problems this could create.

Okay, so data collection and ad targeting aren't usually considered features. Still, they kind of are in this case when you think about the foundational function of most free services like Facebook. A company doesn't become a behemoth as giant as Meta without selling something, and in this case, it's access to information about you, paid for by advertisers. A connected smartwatch adds even more of your data to the trove.

The patent linked above shows the display's ability to rotate. Doing this would let you select a different camera. MySmartPrice remarks that these would have been different lenses: "macro lens, a telephoto lens, an optical zoom lens or a wide angle lens. Users will be able to adjust the field of view with multiple cameras."

Facebook Smartwatch Specs and Hardware

Smartwatch display with camera
Smartwatch display with camera.

As described by Gurman, the Meta watch is built with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. Like any camera, this one captures selfies and presumably facilitate video calls.

You can already make voice and video calls using Facebook, so it isn't a stretch to think the company would extend this functionality to your wrist. The watch could likely record the captured media directly to your phone, if not a tiny storage device on the watch or in your Facebook account.

According to The Verge, the Facebook smartwatch would have had a second 1080p camera on the back for when you're more interested in taking a video of something other than yourself. This camera is 12-megapixels.

Facebook is tapping other companies to create accessories for attaching the camera hub to things like backpacks, according to two people familiar with the project.

As reported by Bloomberg's Kurt Wagner, Wi-Fi, GPS, and cellular connectivity via eSIM were also slated to arrive in this watch. It also would have an 18-hour battery life.

The ability to interface somehow with AR/VR headsets (surely one made by Facebook; maybe the Quest Pro) would also be expected.

Designer Sarang Sheth offers this concept for the watch that's based roughly on details from a patent:

Facebook Watch is also the name of the company's video-on-demand service, available at Facebook.com/watch.

The Latest News About the Meta Watch

You can get more smart and connected life news from Lifewire. Here are rumors and other stories about a Facebook smartwatch: