Facebook has been rumored to be working on its answer to Amazon's Echo Show, but a new report suggests that the device is getting closer to completion.
The new video-chat device is dubbed the Portal, and is expected to retail for $499, according to a report from Cheddar. While the site had no official release date, it suggests that the unit will be unveiled at the F8 developer conference on May 1-2 this year. The Portal would then ship later in the year.
According to Cheddar's sources:
Facebook’s Portal is designed to work indoors and be controlled through voice commands. 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.
The device will also reportedly connect to Spotify and Netflix.
Portal's development, under the codename Aloha, is being handled by Facebook's Building 8 hardware lab, which lost boss Regina Dugan last October. The company has been hoping that its hardware business could gain some traction to keep up with Amazon and Google, but it has been slowed by key management departures. And while most smart speakers and devices from the competition offer their own voice assistants, Facebook just retired its version - M - this week.
When the unit finally does go on sale, Cheddar reports that the unit would be sold through pop-up stores and online. Apparently, Facebook is planning other hardware to follow the release of Portal.