Facebook released its Portal smart displays back in October 2018 and is now reportedly working on expanding its ecosystem to TVs. Indeed, according to rumors, the social media network has approached steaming companies to discuss a potential partnership to bring their services to a new device made for TVs.
According to The Information, Facebook went to Amazon, Disney, Hulu, and Netflix in preparation for the release of a future device that would let users stream media content and video calls from their TVs. Indeed, thanks to a built-in wide-angle camera with AI motion sensing, users would be able to call their Messenger and WhatsApp contacts directly from their TVs. Given its potential features, this product sounds like an extension of the existing Portal smart displays. Reports indicate it would also ship with a physical remote, which would make it an interesting competitor against the Fire TV, thanks to its built-in camera.
The company hasn't officially confirmed any of this information. However, reports indicate the new device, codenamed Catalina, would be released this fall, a year after the Portal screens went on sale. In terms of geographical availability, rumors say the product would be released in both North America and Europe.
Facebook hasn't publicly shared sales figures for its Portal devices, but IDC Analyst Adam Wright estimates they've shipped about 54,100, which is quite a shy number compared to the 23.2 million smart speakers sold over Q1 2019. Given these disappointing sales, it's surprising Facebook wants to expand its lineup with a new device, especially due to growing concerns about what it does with people's data.
We'll keep you posted as we learn more information about this new device and its availability.