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Facebook set to announce a new video chat device similar to the Echo Show

The device will include a privacy shutter, which was only implemented to help public perception of the social giant.

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Image: Reuters

Next week, Facebook plans on announcing its new video chat device. The device, called Portal, is described as something similar to an Amazon Echo Show, and includes social features and will be available in two sizes, according to Cheddar.

Portal was first expected to get its announcement at the annual F8 developer conference in May. However, the Cambridge Analytica data breach and Russia scandal over the 2016 U.S. presidential election forced the company to delay the launch.

How much will Portal cost?

Cheddar says Portal will be available for $300 and $400, depending on the size. Each offers a privacy shutter that can cover the device’s wide-angle video camera with ease. Artificial intelligence within the device can recognize people and follow them as they move around a room. The report says the private shutter is referred to as the “brand tax” inside of Facebook because it was only recently developed in response to worsening public trust in the company brand.

Besides these features, Portal offers integration with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and allows you to play music, watch videos, see cooking recipes, get news briefs, and more.

Facebook and hardware

Facebook hasn’t attempted to sell consumer hardware except for products from Oculus, the VR headset maker it purchased in 2014. Facebook designed software for a phone in partnership with HTC ended a year before.

Will Portal succeed? Up to $400 for something like this sounds expensive, especially when you compare it to the Amazon Echo Show, which is $229. Nonetheless, the devil is in the details. Hopefully, we’ll hear more about Portal soon.

Would you buy a Portal device from Facebook? You know what to do below. 

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Bryan considers himself a well-rounded techie, having written articles for MakeUseOf, KnowTechie, AppAdvice, iDownload Blog. When he's not writing, he's being a single dad and rooting for his alma mater, Penn State, or cheering on the Patriots.

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