Saturday, September 23, 2023

Meta Stops Making Consumer Portal

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Meta plans to stop making consumer versions of its Portal video calling hardware and instead flip the product line to focus on enterprise use cases, such as conference calling.

The change in strategy, first indicated by The information and attached to The edge by a source familiar with the matter, comes as Meta reassesses its ambitious hardware plans against investor concerns about the billions of dollars it spends on projects that have yet to pay off financially. A spokesperson for Meta declined to comment.

The Portal line debuted in 2018 with two screens intended as dedicated video call stations. They also supported apps for activities such as listening to music on Spotify and streaming videos on the Food Network. But the screens had limited functionality, and their connection to Facebook — which was linked to the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal — didn’t offer much assurance about the safety of inviting a connected camera into your home.

New versions have been released since then, including the portable Portal Go, but the device never became a big hit. Research firm IDC estimates that Meta will have shipped 800,000 portals by 2021, accounting for less than 1 percent of the global smart speaker and display market, according to The information† Meta currently sells four Portal products, from a $99 TV camera to a $349 smart display.

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