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Facebook to unveil Portal, its Echo Show-like video chat device, at F8 conference

By Shawn Knight
Jan 10, 2018
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  1. Word leaked in mid-2017 that Facebook was planning to build a smart speaker with an integrated 15-inch touchscreen display to compete with Amazon’s Echo Show. On Tuesday, additional details regarding the device – codenamed Portal – surfaced courtesy of Cheddar.

    Sources familiar with the matter tell the publication that Facebook intends to pitch Portal not as a traditional smart assistant like the Echo but rather, as a device to help friends and family remain in touch – specifically, via video chatting and related social features.

    The communications tool will be controlled primarily through voice commands and will be equipped with a wide-angle lens that allows the device’s camera to automatically recognize faces and associate them with Facebook accounts. Users will also be able to stream content from services like Netflix and Spotify.

    A formal product introduction is expected in early May at Facebook’s annual developer conference, F8. Portal will reportedly debut at a price point of $499 which is significantly more expensive than the $230 Amazon is currently charging for its Echo Show.

    That said, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly told employees that he doesn’t care if the device generates a profit. Instead, he wants to see it change user behavior and become more like a phone.

    Look for Portal to ship during the second half of 2018 and be sold online and at pop-up stores.

    Facebook’s Oculus VR division is also planning to release a cheaper standalone VR headset this year. That device, dubbed the Oculus Go, will debut at $199 and compete with similar offerings from HTC and Microsoft.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Jamlad

    Jamlad TS Maniac Posts: 173   +159

    FB connected assistant? No thanks.

    I don't trust Alexa as is, but why would I trust a device from a company that actively builds its business off of user data?
  3. Joe Blow

    Joe Blow TS Addict Posts: 244   +77

    Expect all communications to be monitored directly by U.S. government intelligence agencies. Boycott this crap!
  4. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,375   +71

    Installed the amazon echo for this girl I know. Would not allow wpa/2 security, so she has an unsecured network. No one has logged on in a week tho. Looking into mac address filtering, but maybe a firmware upgrade will fix this, if it does that. You install/control the echo with your smartphone. Altho google has been suspending my apps giving me lack of motivation, you can program some of alexa with entering a phrase like "press end button" in words and it will follow your orders. Am still working with the amazon app store. Google insists my apps are spying, when their home device in your living room is an open microphone to a maharaza in india.

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