Facebook likely to launch ‘Portal’ video chat device using AI

Facebook is reportedly set to announce its own video chat device called Portal next week, taking on Amazon’s smart home devices.

Portal will take on Amazon’s Echo Show and will be available in two variants, Cheddar reported on Friday.A larger variant could be priced at around $400, while a smaller variant could go for around $300.

However, it will have integration with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and let users play music, watch videos, see cooking recipes, and get news briefs.

Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot devices add video to the audio experience via voice assistant Alexa. While Echo home devices are microphone-equipped speakers, the Amazon Echo Show and Spot also include a display.

The report said that Facebook had originally planned to announce Portal at its annual F8 developer conference in May “But the company’s scandals, including the Cambridge Analytica data breach and the bombshell revelation that Russia used the platform to interfere with the 2016 elections, led executives to shelve the announcement at the last minute”

The social media giant was yet to comment on this development.

Portal will also reportedly feature a privacy shutter that can cover the device’s wide-angle video camera. It will apparently use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to recognise people in the frame and follow them as they move throughout a room.