Earlier this year there were rumors that Facebook was planning on getting into smart speakers as well. Following the success of Amazon and Google, it’s not surprising that Facebook wants a slice of that pie. Now according to a report from Cheddar, Facebook is expected to announce the device next week.
Codenamed “Portal”, this is a device that is more similar to the Amazon Echo Show and Google’s Smart Display lineup, where it will focus on the fact that it has a display and will allow users to make video calls. Facebook had initially planned to launch the device earlier this year, but the company delayed their plans following the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, in which it was naturally assumed that the last thing people needed at that time was a set of speakers that was always listening.
Details are scarce, but Cheddar’s report claims that the device will come with privacy features like a shutter that will cover the camera. There will also be the use of AI which will help to identify users in the frame, which can also be used to track them in the room so that users can move around while chatting and not worry about going out of frame.
Take it with a grain of salt for now and check back with us next week for the details. While it has been several months since the data scandal, one has to wonder if Portal will be successful. Facebook has attempted to launch hardware in the past but has not really seen much success, so it will be interesting to see if Portal will change that narrative.