Consumer hardware is increasingly becoming part of Facebook’s plans for the next decade, and that shift has led to a change in the social network’s executive ranks. Veteran executive Andrew Bosworth will now lead Facebook’s augmented reality, virtual reality, and consumer hardware initiatives, a Facebook spokesperson informed VentureBeat today.
Mark Rabkin will step into Bosworth’s previous role as Facebook’s vice president of ads and business platforms, the spokesperson said. The change puts Bosworth in charge of not only Oculus and the company’s AR platform Facebook Spaces, but also Facebook’s reported plans for a smart speaker and video chat device.
“We are excited about our long-term investments in virtual reality, augmented reality, and consumer hardware,” a Facebook spokesperson told VentureBeat in a statement. “We believe these new technologies have the potential to bring the world closer together in entirely new ways, and we’ve built great teams with strong leadership in each of these areas. Bringing these teams closer together will help us move even faster as we continue to invest in our 10-year roadmap.”
Facebook’s video chat device is unofficially codenamed Aloha, according to Business Insider. Other consumer hardware work underway at Regina Dugan’s experimental Building 8 includes wearable devices, like smart glasses and a 360-degree camera.
Reports of a Facebook smart speaker and video chat device first surfaced earlier this month. A person familiar with the matter told Business Insider that the devices are currently being tested at home by Facebook employees and may sell for $499, though a final price has not yet been decided. The anonymous source suggested Aloha could be released in May 2018, possibly timed with Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, but also noted that initial surveys found consumers fear Facebook would use such devices to spy on its users.
While Facebook confirmed the new leadership, the company declined to comment on potential new products.
In addition to leading Facebook’s advertising efforts, Bosworth has been at Facebook since 2006, according to his LinkedIn profile, during which time he played a role in the advancement of major initiatives such as Facebook Messenger and the Facebook News Feed.