This week’s CES show in Las Vegas has seen a horde of new smart speakers and ‘smart displays’ (speakers with screens) announced, but the biggest launch of 2018 may be unveiled a little later in the year.
News site Cheddar claims that Facebook is working on a video-chat device called Portal which will compete directly with devices like Amazon’s Echo Show. The report predicts that Portal will be unveiled in May and that it could ship in the second half of this year for $499.
“Facebook also intends to let Portal access outside streaming services like Spotify and Netflix,” claimed Cheddar, which suggests the device will be neutral when it comes to music, rather than a delivery mechanism for any Facebook-branded streaming service.
That said, if and when Facebook does more with music video, for example, this kind of gadget would be a good delivery mechanism.
But music won’t be the main use case: Portal is thought to be more about video calls and communication.
“CEO Mark Zuckerberg has told employees that he doesn’t care if the device generates profit but rather wants it to change user behaviour and encourage phone-like usage among owners,” as the report puts it.