Facebook's unannounced smart display has been the topic of speculation for over a year, but back in January, we heard the first report stating that the device would indeed be coming to market under the Portal moniker. The device was expected to be announced at the F8 conference in May, but it ended up being delayed due to the privacy scandals surrounding the social network at the time. However, it seems that the company now feels the dust has settled regarding those problems, and an announcement could be coming very soon.
According to a new report from Cheddar (via Liliputing), which also shared the original plans for the announcement, Facebook is planning to announce the Portal next week. In an attempt to regain the public trust, the company has added a physical shutter to cover the device's camera, which should help ease some of the privacy concerns its customers may have.
Behind that shutter will be a wide-angle camera which, when being used, will use the power of AI to detect people in the frame and track them as they move around. The rest of the software will apparently be based around Amazon's Alexa, offering support for music playback and more.
It also appears that Facebook is now aiming for a lower price point than what was originally expected. Rather than costing $499, the Portal will now max out at $400, with a smaller version costing just $300. While this is significantly cheaper than expected, it still puts it above the Echo Show, which costs just $230 even with the refresh Amazon announced yesterday.
With this price point - and with all the concerns regarding user privacy on Facebook - it's hard to imagine that the Portal will be terribly successful unless it can offer more standout features compared to competitors. Whether or not such features exist remains to be seen, but we shouldn't have much longer to wait to find out.