Facebook once called its Portal family of devices, first introduced in 2018, “the future of video calling” — and spent big on ad campaigns pushing the products.
Now the social media giant, since renamed Meta Platforms, is switching gears: The company will no longer produce consumer versions of the Portal and instead will focus on business applications, Variety has confirmed.
Meta will continue to sell current Portal models in inventory as well as provide long-term support for existing customers. Per a source familiar with the company’s strategy, the Meta Portal gained traction among businesses looking to enable better collaboration among at-home workers during the COVID pandemic. News of Meta’s decision to discontinue consumer versions of Portal was first reported by The Information.
The main feature of Meta Portal (which was previously called Facebook Portal) is video-calling, with the ability to start or join calls of up to 50 people. The devices feature built-in support for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.
In addition, the Portal line has been positioned as an entertainment device, providing access to Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, Paramount+ and Showtime, as well as Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio (and, of course, Facebook Watch). The devices also can act as a digital photo frame, displaying pics from Facebook and Instagram, and support Zoom Technologies videoconferencing.
The most recent lineup of Meta Portal consumer devices have come in four models: Portal TV (listed at $99), which connects to HDTVs; the standalone Portal with a 10-inch display ($179); Portal Go, which has a 10-inch display and a built-in battery for room-to-room portability ($199); and Portal Plus, with a 14-inch screen ($349).
“Meta’s Portal family of video-calling devices makes it easier to feel connected with your closest friends and family even when you’re miles apart,” the company’s description reads.
Meanwhile, Meta also is postponing the launch of its consumer-focused augmented-reality glasses, originally slated to debut in 2024, by several more years as part of efforts to cut costs in the money-losing Meta Reality Labs division, per The Information report.
In another apparent cost-cutting move, Meta this week axed the development of a two-camera smartwatch (code-named Milan) but is continuing R&D on other smartwatch projects, according to a Bloomberg report.