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Facebook Appoints Andrew Bosworth to Lead Hardware Units

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Facebook Inc (FB - Free Report) has appointed VP of ads and business platform, Andrew Bosworth to spearhead all its hardware efforts including Building 8 and Oculus, per a Business Insider report.

Regina Dugan, head of Building 8 and Hugo Barra, head of company’s VR initiatives as well as the Oculus unit will report to Bosworth. Ads engineering head Mark Rabkin will replace Bosworth as VP of ads and business platform.

Bosworth has been with Facebook for the past 11 years and is known to be a close aide of CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He had played a pivotal role in creating News Feed and Messenger, adds the report.

Facebook’s Hardware Efforts

For some time now, Facebook is working to boost its hardware efforts. Recently, it was reported that Facebook is working on a video chat device, codenamed Aloha. If we go by media reports, Aloha will be Building 8’s first consumer hardware offering.

Per reports, Aloha will boast a large touch screen and likely to have facial recognition technology embedded. It will function similar to Amazon’s (AMZN - Free Report) Echo Show. Echo Show is the latest digital assistant in the Alexa powered Echo family which also has a 7 inch touch screen.  Priced at $499, Aloha will be out next spring, reportedly.

Moreover, earlier at this year’s F8, the company made some jaw dropping announcements as far as the consumer hardware was concerned. Facebook said it was working on two projects that delve into the area of silent speech communication including brain scanning. For developing this technology, the company is working with non-invasive and wearable sensors. Apart from this, the company is working on another technology that will allow people to hear with their skin. Facebook is also working on 360 degrees cameras.

Last year, the company had established Building 8—a DARPA style research facility, spearheaded by Dugan, a former Alphabet (GOOGL - Free Report) executive. Notably, Dugan served as DARPA’s director prior to her appointment at Alphabet.

It had also unveiled Area 404, a 22,000 sq feet sprawling hardware research lab at its Menlo Park headquarters, to boost “modeling, prototyping, and failure analysis in-house.” Last year, it also snapped up startup—Nascent Objects—for an undisclosed amount to step up its hardware efforts.

Analysts observe that Facebook has spent huge resources on its hardware efforts but lack of “centralized focus” has been a concern. Appointment of Bosworth is aimed to “unify” all its hardware efforts. Facebook is already a late entrant in the consumer hardware space. Its only hardware product Oculus Rift has relatively underperformed compared to Sony’s (SNE - Free Report) PS4 headset and HTC’s Vive, adds the report.

Zacks Rank and Stock Price Movement

At present, Facebook has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).  You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

In the past one year, Facebook’s shares have generated a return of 36.6%, compared with the industry’s gain of 15.5%

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