Facebook plans to launch its own Smart Home Device

Jan 10, 2018 | 1308 Views

Facebook is looking forward to entering the home device market with its first consumer hardware device. According to some sources close to the company, Facebook plans to unveil a $499 video chat system that will directly compete with Amazon's Echo Show sometime in May.

The device could be named "Portal". It will feature a laptop-sized touchscreen and smart camera technology that will have artificial intelligence integration. Facebook will plan to market it as a way for friends and family to video chat with each other and become a communal hub.

This will place Facebook as a direct competitor to Amazon's Echo Show which is positioned as a social hub for kitchen. If reports are correct, Portal will be available for consumers in the second half of this year.

The device will act as the first of many Facebook products for the home, according to a new report from online news outlet Cheddar.

'The device is designed to work in the home and represents Facebook's first serious foray into selling consumer hardware, people familiar with the matter said,' Cheddar reports.

'Rather than position the device as a smart assistant akin to Amazon's Echo speakers, Facebook intends to pitch Portal as a way for families and friends to stay connected through video chatting and other social features.'

'Facebook plans a formal product introduction in early May at its annual developer conference and hopes to ship the device in the second half of 2018.'

The system will feature a 13-15inch screen, wide-angle camera, microphone, and speakers boosted by artificial intelligence, and it will be geared for communal use in the living room

There is a version in testing that would enable the camera to automatically scan for faces present in the room and then link them to their facebook accounts. Just like Amazon's screen-equipped Echo Show, this device will be voice-controlled and is designed for indoor use.

Facebook also plans to let Portal access third-party streaming services like Netflix & Spotify as per the reports. The firm recently signed big music licensing deals with Universal Music Group & Sony/ATV.

Source: HOB