Facebook has been rumored to be working on a device which will compete with the Amazon Echo Show for quite some time now. The rumors surrounding this device are getting stronger of late and today we have a name. This standalone video chat device is reportedly named Facebook Portal – and it would cost $499 upon launch.
In addition to this, Facebook has decided to shut down ‘M’ – their virtual assistant. Facebook officially confirmed this decision at the CES 2018. What really surprises us is that this news surfaced at a time when virtual assistants are the hottest thing in the markets. However, with Facebook Portal rumors getting louder than ever before – it will be interesting to see how Facebook introduces an assistant here (if at all they do).
Facebook Portal, designed by Facebook’s ‘Building 8’ – will be the first ever consumer oriented hardware device from Facebook. One of the highlights of Facebook Portal is the fact that it offers facial recognition. Reportedly, this facial recognition is so powerful that it can identify you and log you in to your Facebook account, following which you can easily make calls to your friends.
The Facebook Portal will also be able to run some apps such as Spotify and Netflix. However, what really baffles us is the pricing of the device. While Amazon Echo Show is a similar device – it comes out at a much lesser price tag, almost half that of the Portal. Moreover, it looks like the Facebook Portal lacks a unique selling point at the moment because video calling is possible on smartphones and PCs too.
Moreover, another alarming concern would be owning a Facebook owned device which comes with an always-on camera. Facebook has been controversial in the past when it comes to collecting user data and has been ribbed for various privacy related concerns. We await the official announcement of the Facebook Portal.