Facebook relaunches Portal, its range of smart screens designed to make video calls, with improvements and reduced prices compared to the first models released less than a year ago, which are struggling to establish themselves in a market dominated by Amazon and Google.
We’ve seen everything from A to Z – packaging, design, sound, processor – to achieve the same experience, but at a much lower price, said Andrew Bosworth, vice president of consumer equipment. at Facebook.
The Californian giant presented Wednesday several new versions of its Portal, which means portal in English. It is a connected screen that allows you to call his contacts, alone or with others, without necessarily being placed directly in front of the camera, thanks to a wide-angle camera with artificial intelligence.
Second Generation Portal, only nine months after the first
Like their predecessors, the new Portal also acts as wizards connected via Alexa, the voice interface of Amazon, to which users go for shopping or control certain appliances.
They also offer a more varied catalog of applications with the addition of Prime Video, Amazon’s streaming service. Calls can now be placed via WhatsApp in addition to Messenger, both of which are Facebook-owned messaging services.
Consumers will have the choice between the Mini Portal, with an 8-inch screen ($179), the Portal (10 inches, $249), the Portal + (15.6 inches, $379) or the Portal TV ($199), which is not a screen but a kind of mini-camera connected to the TV to turn it into a video call interface.
A highly contingent market
The market for connected devices is very competitive , acknowledged Andrew Bosworth. There are great things that answer your questions or people ringing at your door. All this is the starting bet. But Portal is the only one that will bring you closer to the people you love the most. And we bet on the idea that a smart device that does not do that is not that smart.
In 2018, Amazon and Google crashed the US market for connected speakers: Amazon has sold nearly half of the 57.5 million items sold, and Google, almost 40%, according to IDC, a firm specialized in market analyzes.
In 2014, Facebook acquired the manufacturer of Oculus virtual reality headphones, but the Portal is its first consumer product developed in-house.
The group did not give any figures on its sales, but six months after the first launch, the price of the base model had dropped on several e-commerce sites.
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