More details emerge of Facebook’s rumored Echo Show competitor

facebook echo show competitor 1 hacker way
Facebook’s debut device may have crashed and burned back in 2013, but a few years away from the game has apparently given it time to build its team and give hardware another shot.

But instead of a smartphone, this time around the company is thought to be developing a video chat device similar in some ways to Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo Show. Rumors about such a product have been swirling around for many months, but a new report from live news and entertainment company Cheddar suggests the social networking giant is just months away from the big reveal.

Insiders told Cheddar this week the device is likely to be called “Portal” and cost $499 — that’s $270 more than the Echo Show. The sources said Facebook wants to show off the device in May at its annual developer conference, and start shipping it before the end of the year.

The report says nothing of the size of the device, though last year Bloomberg suggested it would have a display of between 13 and 15 inches, around double that of the Echo Show.

While it could well incorporate some smart-speaker functionality, to separate it from the smart-speaker market Portal is expected to act more as a video chat device to help families and friends stay in touch. So how will Facebook separate it from the plethora of messaging apps with video chat features? Well, the tablet-like device will reportedly respond to voice commands and have the social networking site at its heart, with facial recognition technology working to automatically connect users to their accounts.

If and when Portal sees the light of day, it will be the first product to emerge from Facebook’s secretive Building 8 lab.

The lab launched in 2016 and, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is pursuing “augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, connectivity, and other important areas.”

A Facebook job ad speaks of Building 8 launching “seemingly impossible products that define new categories that advance Facebook’s mission of connecting the world.” Whether Portal fits that lofty description remains to be seen.

What we do know is that any new hardware effort from Facebook has to be a serious improvement on the smartphone it launched in 2013. The HTC-made, Facebook-focused device received underwhelming reviews and disappeared from view just months after launch.

Smart Home

New wireless power kit puts a charge into your smart speakers via infrared light

Wireless power technology is coming fast, and Wi-Charge is leading the innovative trend with a new wireless power kit that can transform Amazon and Google smart speakers into fully functional, wire-free devices.
Social Media

Going incognito: Here's how to appear offline on Facebook

How do you make sure your friends and family can't see if you're on Facebook, even if you are? Here, we'll show you how to turn off your active status on three different platforms, so you can browse Facebook without anyone knowing.
Emerging Tech

Intel’s new ‘neural network on a stick’ aims to unchain A.I. from the internet

To kick off its first developer conference in Beijing, Intel unveiled the second generation of its Neural Compute Stick -- a device that promises to democratize the development of computer vision A.I. applications.
News

New Hampshire judge tells Amazon to turn over Echo recordings in murder case

A New Hampshire judge has directed Amazon to turn over Echo recordings to help solve a double homicide. The prosecution believes the device may have recorded conversations, or even the crime itself.
Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.
Computing

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.
Smart Home

Facebook's Alexa-enabled video-calling devices begin shipping

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Social Media

Vine fans, your favorite video-looping app is coming back as Byte

Vine fans were left disappointed in 2017 when its owner, Twitter, pulled the plug on the video-looping app. But now one of its co-founders has promised that a new version of the app, called Byte, is coming soon.
News

Social media use increases depression and anxiety, experiment shows

A study has shown for the first time a causal link between social media use and lower rates of well-being. Students who limited their social media usage to 30 minutes a day showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."