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.
Facebook's purported Portal video device would compete against the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home, but Facebook will be aiming Portal at family and friends that want to stay in touch, always. The device may also play nice with streaming services like Spotify and Netflix so people can use it to play music, TV shows, and movies.
The Portal device is rumored to be released in the second half and will start off at $499 per unit, which is significantly higher than its rivals Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod, but could still be lowered in order to have a better chance in the market.
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Facebook is now planning to price Portal at $499 but could decide to lower the price to further spur consumer adoption, the Cheddar report said. "We're not commenting on this speculative report", a spokesperson said.
Thus far, Facebook's hardware efforts have largely focused on so-called "Facebook phones", but that never really went anywhere. 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. It will also allow users to access their Facebook accounts and other social media sites such as Twitter.