(Photo Courtesy)

According to a report from Bloomberg, Facebook is building a video calling device for the home, in what is essentially a new product category. It apparently has a laptop-sized screen and smart camera technology that gives users the impression of being in the same room as one another.

The technology is being built by Facebook’s Building 8 lab and would represent the first hardware to come out of the experimental unit led by former Google executive Regina Dugan.

The report suggests that the screen includes AI-powered microphones and speakers, as well as a wide-angle camera lens. It’s said to measure 13-15 inches diagonally and the camera could be capable of scanning for people and objects around the room before focusing in on them accordingly.

The earliest possible announcement for it could be at Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference, later this year. At this point, it’s not known for sure if it runs a version of Android or a new proprietary operating system. A 360-degree camera has also been considered, but it’s thought it won’t be ready in time for the launch of the first generation release.

A standalone video calling device would be a way of keeping people tied into the Facebook ecosystem while offering a compelling new way to connect with friends and family over great distances.

Credit: Bloomberg, Android Police