Facebook Plans New Portal Smart Screens

Facebook Plans New Portal Smart Screens
Facebook is following Amazon in planning redesigned smart screen devices.

(CCM) — Facebook is already planning new versions of its Portal smart screens, just over six months since the original devices were first released.

The Portal and Portal + screens began shipping in the U.S. in November, allowing users to carry out video chats over Facebook's Messenger and WhatsApp networks.

"The reason we’re doing this is because we think there’s a whole new generation of hardware coming out," Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's president of AR/VR, said in a CNBC report. He added that the new form factors will be shipping "later this fall."

The news comes as a surprise to many commentators, because the Portal devices are not believed to have been met with strong demand. Bosworth declined to say how may have been sold to date. However, it is possible that the new hardware Bosworth alluded to may enable Facebook to cut the price of the Portal devices substantially.

Facebook's announcement comes shortly after Amazon announced the Echo Show 5, a lower cost and smaller version of its existing Echo Show smart screen.

This may indicate that demand for its smart screens is strong, or alternatively that Amazon is still trying to establish the price and form factor of a smart screen which is likely to find mass consumer appeal.

Image: © Facebook.