Meta intends to discontinue consumer versions of its Portal video-calling devices and instead focus on business use cases such as conference conferencing.
The shift in strategy comes as Meta reassesses its ambitious hardware aspirations in light of investor concerns about spending billions of dollars on initiatives that have yet to pay off financially. Meta’s representative declined to comment.
In 2018, the Portal line debuted with two monitors designed as specialized video calling stations. They also supported apps for activities such as Spotify music streaming and Food Network television streaming. However, the displays’ functionality was limited, and their connection to Facebook — which was coping with the repercussions of the Cambridge Analytica incident — didn’t provide much comfort about the safety of bringing a connected camera into your house.
Since then, other variants have been released, including the portable Portal Go, although the device has never been a major success. According to IDC, Meta will ship 800,000 Portals in 2021, accounting for less than 1% of the worldwide smart speaker and display market. Meta presently sells four Portal products, ranging in price from $99 for a TV-connected camera to $349 for a smart display.