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Facebook working on Echo show competitor, will cost $499: Reports

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Facebook is reportedly working on a home video chat device that comes with a large screen, similar to the Amazon Echo Show. According to a report by financial news broadcaster, Cheddar, the device will be branded as Portal and will be the first piece of consumer hardware developed by Facebook’s secretive Building 8 lab, which is an internal skunkworks division similar to Google’s X. According to the report Portal is set to be unveiled in early May at Facebook’s F8 developer conference. The Verge had quoted Digitimes back in July 2017 reporting that Facebook was working on a smart speaker with a touch panel, Portal seems to be an evolution of that device. According to Cheddar's Alex Heath, Facebook will not be pitching the Portal as a competitor to smart home assistants like Amazon's Echo and Google Home but rather as a communication's device to stay in touch with friends and family when they are away. The report also states that Portal’s camera boasts a wide-angle lens that comes with facial recognition (and therefore log them into their personal Facebook accounts), and can be controlled via voice commands. Like the Echo Show, however, Facebook is planning to entice third parties to come on board as well. The report mentions that the company plans to enable streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, and has recently signed licensing deals with major record labels in the US. Sticker shock According to the Cheddar report, the Portal may be priced at an insanely steep…

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Writes about consumer technology, social media, digital services and tech policy. Is a gadget freak, gamer and Star Wars nerd.

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