In a reported bid to enter the hardware product market, Facebook is planning to launch a home video chat product titled “Portal” in May that will compete with Amazon’s Echo Show and Google Assistant-enabled touchscreens.
According to a report by online news network Cheddar on Wednesday, “Portal” will be the first finished hardware product from Facebook’s secretive Building 8 lab and may see the light of the day in May – the time when Facebook organises its annual F8 developer conference.
The report claimed that Facebook plans to sell the device for $499 through pop-up stores as well as online. “Portal” is seen as a competition to Amazon Echo Show and four Google Assistant-powered smart speakers that were launched at CES 2018 this week. The four new smart displays include devices made by Sony, Samsung-owned JBL, LG and Lenovo.
These devices feature a touchscreen that can be used to display visual information to accompany its responses, as well as play video and conduct video calls. “Portal” will be equipped with a wide-angle lens that is capable of recognising individual faces and associating them with their Facebook accounts. The social media giant also intends to let “Portal” access outside streaming services like Spotify and Netflix.