16 February, 2018
Mark Zuckerberg's company has reportedly made a decision to delay the release of its Portal-named smart speaker and the other model that's now known for its codename, "Fiona".
Facebook wanted to launch the devices in May, the report notes but delayed the launch to ideal the acoustic quality and software.
Finally, the report notes that the speakers will be launched "in July at the latest", although no exact release date has been given. Portal won't debut solo because the company is also working on another smart speaker that's known internally by developers as Fiona. The former is said to be a more advanced model and it could be launched with the official name Portal.
The two devices are tipped to carry 15-inch touchscreens, and would come with a host of Echo-style features. For example, it could show the entire recipe of a dish while Alexa dictates the instructions.More news: Several Russians killed in USA airstrikes in Syria, friends say
In August 2017, Bloomberg reported that the tech juggernaut was developing at least two separate smart home speaker products with a digital assistant. Obviously, you need to experience Facebook's many products on this device, and that's why a screen is required.
Facebook, it turns out, will launch its own smart speakers later this year. The immediacy of such devices means that they are front and centre in people's every day life and it brings Facebook into the fore as people listen to music and control their central heating, among other things.
In addition, Facebook is also trying to strongly compete with Apple's HomePod. That report said the speaker was going to cost $399. With speakers themselves becoming ubiquitous, it's important to set the product apart with a powerful differentiator - which may wind up being some interesting integrations with Facebook itself.
We can assume that the social-related functions will be tied to Facebook's flagship social media platform, but the company is also rumored to have signed music licensing contracts with both Sony and Universal Music. It remains to be seen, how the new smart speakers match up to the offerings by big players like Google, Amazon, and Apple. Both LG Display and Pegatron declined to comment on the leaked information though.
These reports seem to suggest that Facebook is becoming serious about edging into the consumer hardware sphere.