Facebook brings the fight to Amazon, Google with its own smart speakers

  • Facebook has announced the launch its own smart speakers in the market called the Portal and the Portal+.
  • The unique selling point of these devices is that they keep you in the frame as you move about the room using auto-zoom and, for the Portal+, rotation.
  • This is Facebook’s first dip in the hardware arena but, on paper, it seems to have more misses than hits.
The space normally dominated by Amazon and Google has a new competitor in its courtyard with Facebook announcing the launch of its own smart speakers. It even sets itself apart with a unique feature. As you move around the room, the video chat screen with automatically zoom-in to keep you in the frame.

Portal and Portal+ are two different sizes. The 10-inch screen of the former stays in place, while the 15.6-inch screen of the latter rotates. The Portal+ also has a 1080p screen while its smaller counterpart sports the standard 720p. The pre-launch sales have started at $199 (approx. ₹15,000) and $349 (approx. ₹26,000) respectively.

While some question the timing of the launch, the Portal and Portal+ were originally meant to roll out during the F8. That launch was postponed in lieu of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Considering they didn’t choose to delay the launch one more time suggests that the company might’ve have had very little choice in the matter.

Facebook’s foray into hardware

More than the fact that the company is going up against Amazon and Google, it’s interesting to note that it’s the first attempt it’s made at constructing its own hardware. That being said, while it may seem like an excellent tool for video chatting, there is little else that you can do with it.

The device doesn’t support a web browser or streaming services like Netflix or YouTube. And what’s even more confounding is that despite being manufaced by Facebook, it’s one of the few devices that doesn’t let you access your Facebook feed.

Sure, the Portal and Portal+ speakers are only available in the United States as of now but they’re entrance marks a significant change in Facebook’s strategy going forward. That being said, considering the string of privacy mishaps that company has faced in the past few months, it’s uncertain how enthusiastic consumers will be about bringing these devices into their home.

And it’s also not encouraging that the only way to log in to a Portal device is by using your Facebook credentials considering that 50 million accounts were recently compromised.

Subscribe to whatsappSubscribe to whatsapp
Add Comment()
Comments ()
Sort By:
Be the first one to comment.
We have sent you a verification email. This comment will be published once verification is done.