Facebook is reportedly working on a new type of device called, ‘Portal’ whose main function would be to scan and identify faces of anyone who passes by. The video-chat device will be similar to Amazon’s Echo smart-home speaker, which was introduced in the market sometime last year.
The smart-home speakers’ market is already flooded with a lot of competitors, including Google and Apple as well. Therefore, Facebook will have to provide something unique in order to captivate the attention of potential buyers.
According to a report published by Gizmodo, the Portal device is believed to be the same project which recently showed up online. Codenamed, ‘Aloha,’ Business Insider reported that it was the social media giant’s first secretive Building 8 project of 2017. The device is expected to come featuring a device that will sport a wide-angle lens, which will help it capture more of the surroundings of Portal.
Furthermore, it will also be able to use the facial recognition software to always know who is around it. The device will arrive with the ability to playback content from companies like Netflix and Spotify. “Facebook signed big music licensing deals with Sony/ATV and Universal Music Group last year, so you might be able to expect some kind of homegrown music streaming service as well,” reports Gizmodo.
It is not clear whether the product is going to be placed in direct competition with Amazon Echo smart-home speaker or not. The Portal is expected to cost somewhere around $500, which is a lot more than what smart-home speakers ideally cost in the market at the moment. There is no specific date of release for Portal. Moreover, it remains to be seen whether it comes to Facebook’s proprietary artificial intelligence assistant or someone else’s. Facebook hasn’t provided a comment on this matter as yet.