Facebook to launch 'Portal' this year as response to Amazon's 'Echo'

Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks on stage during the annual Facebook F8 developers conference in San Jose California

The Portal device is rumored to cost $499 - significantly more than comparable devices like the Echo Show, which sells for $230 - and will start shipping in the second half of 2018, according to Cheddar.

According to a report in a USA website Cheddar.com, the device, known as "Portal", will be controlled using voice commands and include augmented and virtual reality features along with facial recognition.

It will also be capable of linking up with third-party services, such as Spotify and Netflix.

Facebook is now looking to become a big part of everybody's homes by launching "Portal", the social media giant's first foray into the hardware industry. Facebook employees have internally referred to the video chat device with the codename "Aloha" but recently settled on the name Portal - an indication that product development has progressed even as there's been turnover in Building 8's upper ranks.

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In a reported bid to enter the hardware product market, Facebook is planning to launch a home video chat product titled "Portal" in May that will compete with Amazon's Echo Show and Google Assistant-enabled touchscreens.

The gadget, called Portal, will feature a wide-angle camera that can recognise individual faces.

Facebook is now planning to price Portal at $499 but could decide to lower the price to further spur consumer adoption, the Cheddar report said. The social network has also been testing a facial-recognition account recovery system to help users get back into their account after it's locked.

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