Facebook, according to a report on Tuesday from Cheddar, is reportedly getting into the smart-home game with a $499 device called Portal.
Hold on to your Amazon Echo Shows, there's a new smart device in town. Facebook's Portal would sell for $500 starting this summer of 2018, according to Cheddar, the digital streaming news service that first reported the story, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation.
Portal will essentially work like an Echo Show would in which you can ask it questions, check the weather, and get news all with your voice. Cheddar's sources say Facebook is planning to unveil the device in early May and begin selling it via pop-up stores and online in the second half of the year. "We have shared that Building 8 is working on consumer devices that will bring people together in new ways", it added, referring to Facebook's experimental hardware lab.
Facebook would not confirm any details about Portal.
The world's largest social network has been using facial recognition for years and recently started notifying users if their faces appear in photos they aren't tagged in. The company recently signed sweeping music licensing deals with Sony/ATV and Universal Music Group. Compared to the Echo Show, Portal will be much more costly. A Facebook spokesperson said in an email, "We are not commenting on these speculative reports". Rather than portray the device as a smart assistant, however, Facebook will position it as an extension of the social platform's core use: another way for family and friends to stay connected-of course.
Facebook flirted with hardware in 2013 with the HTC First, also known as the Facebook phone, which was pre-loaded with Facebook's user interface.
Facebook said Monday that it would apply to other products what it learned from testing M. It is unclear whether that will include Portal.