Meta's privacy-scare-inducing smartwatch has reportedly been shelved as new images emerge

Outside of Meta Store
(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A report from Bloomberg suggests that development of Meta's first smartwatch has been "halted."
  • Specific reasons as to why the project has been shelved could be related to recent cost cuts within Meta.
  • The smartwatch is said to include dual cameras, up to 18 hours of battery life, a removable watch face, and more.

Late in 2021, a leak suggested that Meta (which had just recently rebranded from Facebook) was working on a new smartwatch. Given the continued rise in popularity of wearable devices, along with Facebook/Meta's sustained success in the AR market, it made sense for the company to release a new wearable device.

Unfortunately for the Meta fans out there, Bloomberg reports that development for this smartwatch has been "halted" as part of the company's recent cost and budget cuts. Along with the report, we now have our first "real-world" look at what the smartwatch would have offered, including a detachable watch face to easily swap out bands. 

(Image credit: Bloomberg)

From the get-go, the Meta Watch felt like it was a privacy scare waiting to happen. The wearable would have featured a 5MP on the top of the watch face, while a 12MP would be available on the back side and could be used "when the face has been detached". It's not as nerve-wracking of a design as the Samsung Galaxy Gear from 2013, which sported a camera on the watchband itself. However, given the ongoing privacy concerns when it comes to Meta as a company, releasing a device like this could definitely spark some controversy. 

Other features of the Meta Watch included Wi-Fi, GPS, and cellular connectivity via eSIM, some of Meta's most popular apps, along with "daily activity tracking, workouts, the photo gallery, heart rate monitoring, calendar, settings, and breathing." It's also said that this wearable was going to be able to last for up to 18 hours on a single charge, matching up with what we see from some of the best smartwatches currently available.

2013 Samsung Galaxy Gear

(Image credit: Android Central)

Rumors of a potential Meta/Facebook smartwatch have been swirling for the last year and a half or so. The wearable, named Milan, was set to debut in "spring 2023 at a price point around $349." And another reason why the project has reportedly been canceled could have to do with the secondary 12MP camera that was found on the underside of the watch. 

Apparently, the camera "caused issues with another feature for translating nerve signals from the wrist into digital commands," which is said to have been "a top priority for Meta." With Meta's push into the AR and VR world led by devices like the Meta (formerly Oculus) Quest 2, there would be some type of integration between the smartwatch and your VR headset. This is part of Meta's vision for the future of the platform, removing the need to use the included controllers, and instead relying on a smartwatch to interact with the virtual world.

While this is seemingly a setback for Meta, all hope is not lost for a smartwatch or other "wrist-worn devices." It just now seems that the company is pushing things back for various reasons. Perhaps with more time to develop, Meta can implement a truly unique wearable that takes the AR/VR world to the next level.

We have reached out with a request for comment from Meta and will circle back with a response if one is provided. 

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks and tablets

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.