The smart device Facebook has been rumored to be planning to launch for months now might actually be released in the next week or so, according to Cheddar.
Anonymous sources told Cheddar that the device, rumored to be called “Portal,” was originally set to be unveiled in May at the F8 conference but that the announcement was delayed. Concerns from consumers about privacy following the Cambridge Analytica scandal prompted Facebook to hold off on announcing the product, Cheddar reported.
But the new date for launch could be as early as next week. In January, Cheddar reported that the device would be similar to Amazon’s Echo and would be voice controlled with video capabilities and face recognition.
The device will reportedly have a privacy shutter included in its design that can cover the wide-angle lens when users don’t want the camera to be able to recognize them or capture anything going on around it. But when the shutter isn’t on the device, it will reportedly be able to follow people around the room with the camera all while using the facial recognition technology, Cheddar reported.
In addition to the facial recognition, the Portal will likely do many of the things other assistants do. This includes playing music, delivering news and more like allowing users video chatting capabilities with friends. Facebook employees have reportedly been using the Portal for months testing it and becoming familiar with the product before it becomes available to consumers.
Once it’s released, the Portal device could cost $499, Cheddar reported in January before the release of the home assistant was delayed. That price would put it well above other similar devices offered by Amazon.
If Facebook does release Portal this week it would be just in time for the holiday season for those who were looking to get a home assistant for themselves or a friend or family member. That could help position the product to be a strong competitor with other assistant makers.
Facebook did not immediately respond to Newsweek’s request for comment on the Portal’s existence or possible upcoming release.
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