Facebook's new video chat device is being built by the company's experimental labs Building 8. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Facebook is reportedly building a new video chat device through its experimental branch, Building 8. The device is said to feature a touchscreen display and might possibly run Google’s Android operating system.

Details of Facebook’s new video chat device was first reported by Bloomberg. The upcoming new device is said to feature a touchscreen display that’s the size of a laptop screen, built-in microphones, speakers and a camera.

The still unannounced device is said to be in the prototype phase, but it is already being tested in people's homes. A version of the device that’s currently being tested includes a vertical stand that would hold up the touchscreen display, which measures between 13 and 15 inches diagonally.

READ: Facebook Reportedly Planning To Release Smart Speaker With 15-Inch Touchscreen In 2018​

On the software side of things, Facebook is still considering to use Google’s Android operating system. It wasn’t made clear what version of Android it will run, but this appears to be the company’s preferred direction for the device rather than building its own operating system.

Facebook’s video chat device will be geared towards people’s living rooms. The camera on the device is believed to feature a wide-angle lens. Sources told Bloomberg that the camera, the microphones and the speakers will be powered by artificial intelligence to boost performance.

One of the features being tested for this new video chat device allows the camera to automatically scan for people and lock on to them once they’ve been detected. There’s no information provided regarding the camera’s image resolution or camera sensor, but Facebook is also said to be working on a 360-degree camera for the device. This would certainly fit into Facebook’s plans of fully embracing 360-videos. However, people familiar with the matter say that it’s unlikely that the 360-degree camera will be ready for the initial launch of the video chat device.

Facebook is now interested more than ever in building its own hardware. Although the company sells the Oculus Rift VR headset, it only acquired Oculus and didn’t build the headset itself. Last year, Facebook started its new experimental lab called Building 8, which is composed of hardware veterans from the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon.

Although Facebook’s Building 8 appears to be already working on this new video chat device, it was previously reported that the team was working on a smart speaker as well. Facebook’s smart speaker would directly compete against the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple’s HomePod, while its new video chat device would fall under a new device category.

READ: Facebook Is Working On A Modular Device That Can Function Like A Smartphone Or Smart Speaker​

Bloomberg’s report also indicated that Facebook’s early plans for the standalone smart speaker is to sell it for around the “low $100 range” in order to undercut the competition. As for the video chat device, it would cost “a few hundred dollars.”

Sources claim that Facebook might actually abandon the standalone smart speaker in favor of the video chat device. This is because the smart speaker concept has already been popularized. It’s possible that Facebook simply doesn't want to risk entering the smart speaker market that’s already being populated by big players like Amazon, Google, and later this fall, Apple.

A video chat device seems to be a logical choice for Facebook’s new piece of hardware. It could possibly make video chat accessible to more people and it could even be integrated with Facebook’s Messenger, as pointed out by TechCrunch.