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Meta Drops Development of Its Health and Messaging-Centric Smartwatch

Meta Drops Development of Its Health and Messaging-Centric Smartwatch

Meta has canceled the development of its health and messaging-focused smartwatch, which was expected to compete with the Apple Watch.

Reuters reports that Meta employees were told on Friday that work on the smartwatch project, as well as other projects, would be dropped as part of the company’s cost-cutting efforts. Employees were told to expect structural changes to the company.

The firm’s smartwatch development team will move over to developing and building augmented reality glasses, according to chief technology officer Andrew Bosworth, who runs Meta’s Reality Labs division.

Rumors about Meta’s smartwatch have indicated that the device had a detachable display with two built-in cameras for taking pictures and videos to share on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

The Watch was also said to boast a cellular connection and users would be able to send messages to friends and family via messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger. Built-in health tracking features would also be included, including a heart rate monitor.

Meta’s internal reorganization will also bring an end to all Portal development, says the Reuters report. Portal was first launched in 2018 and was a smart display featuring video calling capabilities using Meta-owned services like WhatsApp and Facebook.

While several versions, Portal never really took off as a consumer device. Meta also made attempts to promote it in the enterprise market but they also failed. The company plans to continue selling smart displays under the Portal brand until the end of the year while supplies last.

Meta hired aggressively during the pandemic amid a surge in social media usage by stuck-at-home consumers. But business suffered this year as advertisers and consumers pulled the plug on spending in the face of soaring costs and rapidly rising interest rates.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg on Friday repeated his apology from Wednesday for having to cut 13% of the workforce, telling employees he had failed to forecast Meta’s first dropoff in revenue.

“Revenue trends are just a lot lower than what I predicted. Again, I got this wrong. It was a big mistake in planning for the company. I take responsibility for it,” Zuckerberg said.