A report from Cheddar indicates that the popular social media website, Facebook, is planning to launch a video chat device called Portal in May. It is reported that it might cost around $499, yet this planned priced might be lowered to attract consumers.
Facebook, whose main goal is to connect friends and relatives all around the world, could fortify this mission with the said planned video chat device that could use face recognition to identify who is in the video call. Portal will not only offer video calls but could also play music and stream video just like the Netflix and Spotify. Facebook just signed music licensing deals with Universal Music Group and Sony/ATV, according to Cheddar.
With the launching of the Facebook Portal, it will certainly compete with Amazon’s well-known Echo voice-controlled devices, which costs $229.99. Regarding the planned priced of Portal, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook, told his employees that he does not care if the device generates profit, but rather wants it to change user behavior and encourage phone-like usage among the owners.
Other video chat services include the internet services such as Apple Facetime, Google Hangouts, and Skype. Recently, Google introduced video chat-enabled smart screens, which are developed by LG, Lenovo, Sony, and Samsung, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday.
Facebook Portal could be used indoors or at home. It will be controlled through voice commands and equipped with a wide angle lens that could identify human faces and associate them with their Facebook profile. The Facebook employees gave it a codename known as “Aloha.” However, they decided to change it to Portal, as reported by Cheddar.
This video chat service would be the first product to be launched from Facebook’s consumer hardware lab known as Building 8. It opened in April 2016, and since then, it has undergone troubles.
Meanwhile, expectations for Portal is increasingly high. Its good performance could make Facebook stronger and probably people would anticipate more physical products from Facebook in the coming days.
The giant social media is planning to launch the product in May at its annual developer conference. It also hopes to ship the device in mid-2018, according to Quartz.