According to people familiar with Facebook's plans, Portal will be equipped with a wide-angle lens that is capable of recognizing individual faces and associating them with their Facebook accounts. Expectations for the home product are running high, and its performance will shape how many more physical products we might expect to see from Facebook in the future.
Facebook is now planning to officially unveil the device at its F8 developer conference in May and then ship it before the end of the year. The reported price of $500 is also more than twice the cost of an Amazon Echo Show or LG's new Google screen.
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Also similar to other smart speakers, Facebook's Portal will be able to access streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix. A Facebook spokesperson said in an email, "We are not commenting on these speculative reports".
Facebook wants you to video chat on its platform, so it's taking on Amazon, Google, and Apple with hardware of its own. Regina Dugan, the former Google and DARPA exec Facebook hired to lead the division, suddenly departed past year after 18 months on the job.
If Amazon's Echo or Google's Home devices weren't enough for your hi-tech needs around the house, social media giant Facebook hopes it can fill whatever void's left.
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"Facebook employees have internally referred to the video chat device with the codename "Aloha" but recently settled on the name Portal-an indication that product development has progressed", the report notes.
Portal will be sold by Facebook through pop-up stores and online, people familiar with the matter said. Facebook could decide to lower the price when the device is first released in order to help it get some traction from consumers.
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