Facebook Plans Video Chat Device To Rival Amazon Echo Show

REUTERS  Regis Duvignau Facebook will reportedly announce their own home speaker this year

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.

Like Amazon's screen-equipped Echo Show, Facebook's Portal is created to work indoors and be controlled through voice commands. Third-party streaming is also available, allowing the use of Netflix and Spotify to play favorite movies and songs.

The Portal device is rumored to cost $499 - significantly more than comparable devices like the Echo Show, which sells for $230 - and will start shipping in the second half of 2018, according to Cheddar.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment for this story.


If it goes ahead, Portal will be the first product from Facebook's secretive tech laboratory, Building 8.

Word has it that Facebook is developing its own home video chat device.

To be officially announced during Facebook's F8 developer conference in May this year, the device is considered by many to be CEO Mark Zuckerberg's answer to Amazon's Echo, but according to financial news website Cheddar, the device is meant to be more than just a virtual assistant but rather serve as a link that would keep families and friends connected with each other through video chatting. 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.

Veteran Facebook ad exec Andrew Bosworth was appointed last summer to lead all of the company's hardware efforts, including its separate Oculus virtual reality business.

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