Facebook Moves Deeper Into Hardware now focused on video calling and increased reality,
multiplying down on its voice assistant products that will compete with related articles from Google and Amazon for an increased share of customers’ attention.
The 2nd-generation Portal, the new Portal Mini and new Portal TV each highlight a camera and a set of micro-phones and combine video calls with augmented reality feature such as multiplayer matches and 3D camera lenses. All 3-devices, priced $129 to $179, are ready for preorder beginning today in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Facebook Moves Deeper Into Hardware,The social media giant’s growing hardware unit is still a footnote to its booming promotion market. Facebook doesn’t explicitly state the means for its Oculus or Portal hardware parts,
Instead of working both into the kind of “payments and other fees” in its profits reports. Revenue from that division produced $262 million in the next quarter, which factors less than 2% of the company’s total revenue.
“We’re not concentrated on the market model proper now, admittedly,” said Facebook VP of customer hardware Andrew “Boz” Bosworth in an interview with News channels. “It’s a new level. … I think the various important thing for us right now is becoming [Portal] experiences out there. If this fits something that is a major part of people’s participation in the next several years, I think the chance to develop marketing on top of it will present itself.”
According to eMarketer, nearly 112M people in the U.S., or one-3rd of the population, will use a voice assistant at most limited monthly this year. The Amazon Echo, a pioneer of the product category, still dominates the market share with an estimated 63% of all U.S. active speaker sales in 2019. The group is suffering increased competition; yet, with Google expected to reach 31% of sales this year & others such as Apple and Facebook expected to arrive 12% collectively.
The catch to growing approval rates is that most of these companies advance only a small portion of revenue from smart speakers and voice second devices. The business plan is more nebulous, with a long-term goal of securing users into a “walled garden.”
The ecosystem that encompasses different areas of their lives: their homes, cars and smartphones. Companies like Google and Facebook regularly hope to gain insights about consumer behaviour through steadfast communications with their products that are ultimately used for targeted advertising. In Amazon’s case, those insights are used to help sell goods on its website.
Facebook launched its first Portal device amid intense scrutiny of its privacy practices from U.S. and European regulators in 2018, prompting a backlash from several tech reviewers. The company is now making privacy controls one of the key selling points of its Portal products,
by letting users disable the camera and microphone by pressing a kill-switch button or using a physical slider that blocks the camera lens and mutes the microphone.
Facebook is also adding a new privacy option to all Portal devices that allow users to view,
Listen and delete any of their voice interactions using the Facebook Activity Log. Users can also turn off voice storage in the settings at any time,
which means voice interactions will not be stored or reviewed by any of Facebook’s workers.
The devices will also be the first to run Facebook’s updated Portal operating system that was announced at the company’s annual F8 developer conference. One of the critical features of the new operating system is that users can now make video calls using WhatsApp, including from a Portal device directly to a smartphone. All WhatsApp calls on Portal devices are end-to-end encrypted.
In a surprising move, Facebook is adding Alexa skills including flash briefings, smart home controls and Amazon Prime Video to all of its Portal devices. Alexa will be able to run simultaneously with the Facebook voice assistant, but cannot be set as the default voice assistant.
The Portal TV—a camera bar that plugs directly into your television set—is a streaming device with video-calling capabilities. But the method is hampered by its weak streaming-video content offerings. Although you can stream Amazon Prime Video and Facebook Watch, the device is noticeably missing the most successful streaming service in the U.S.: Netflix.
But Facebook executives don’t seem to be fazed by its exclusion. “If someone wants to watch Netflix, they probably have a way to watch Netflix,” said Boz. “If that becomes the major blocker, I’d be pretty surprised.”