Facebook on Monday launched a range of AI-powered video-calling devices, a strategic revolution for the social network giant in its bid for a slice of a market currently dominated by Amazon and Google.
“It’s been a big shift for the company,” Facebook’s vice president of consumer hardware Andrew Bosworth told AFP before the launch of “Portal”.
“We’ve seen a rise of video calling, on both Messenger and WhatsApp — it has been a tremendous trend,” he said.
The device, which will be available for pre-order in the United States from Monday, is designed to allow users to make video calls at home without having to stand immediately in front of the screen or hold a phone at arm’s length.
But the launch of a product putting a camera into homes is likely to raise privacy issues for the social media giant, which has suffered several data breaches this year involving tens of millions of user accounts.
Although Facebook acquired virtual reality headset manufacturer Oculus in 2014, this is the first time it has developed a consumer hardware product in-house.