Update (June 13, 2:55 am ET): Meta has confirmed that it will stop making new consumer-oriented Portal devices.
What you need to know
- Meta will reportedly stop making Facebook Portal for consumers.
- The video calling hardware will apparently be rebranded as a business-only device.
- It is seen as a fallout of Meta's decision to cut back on huge investments in its Reality Labs hardware division.
It looks like Meta is not only scrapping what would have been its first smartwatch. Meta's huge Reality Labs loss in the first quarter of 2022 may be taking a heavy toll on the Facebook Portal line as well.
According to The Information, the company plans to stop selling consumer versions of the video calling hardware. The move is apparently part of Meta's efforts to reduce massive investments in some of its hardware businesses, including the Reality Labs and AR/VR division. As a result, the company will discontinue its Portal hardware and rebrand the device as a business-focused product, according to the report.
The writing has been clearly on the wall ever since Meta announced its earnings for Q1 2022. During that period, Reality Labs lost nearly $3 billion due to heavy investments Meta made in AR projects such as Project Cambria and Nazare. As a result, Meta has reportedly informed employees that the first consumer version of the AR glasses, which were initially planned for release in 2024, has been shelved in favor of their second-generation model. Instead, Meta plans to make a demonstration version of the AR glasses.
The Facebook Portal devices also failed to gain significant market traction. Nonetheless, it briefly became a hit at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when video chatting was all the rage because employees were forced to work from home.
It makes sense, therefore, for Portal to pivot to business-only hardware. Android Central has reached out to Meta for comment and will update this post once we hear back.
In recent years, Meta has released several versions of Portal, the most recent being the $349 Facebook Portal+. It also released the Portal Go last year to challenge some of the best smart displays on the market, including the Amazon Echo Show 8 and the Nest Hub (2nd Gen).
It will be interesting to see if Meta's renewed emphasis on business customers for its Portal line results in a significant design change to the product.
Meta has told Android Central that it is shifting Portal's focus to businesses, while also aligning the device with other Meta products and developing a suite of work tools.
The company has confirmed that consumer versions of the product will be discontinued. That said, it will continue to sell current inventory and provide support for existing customers over the long term.
Apart from being an excellent video calling device for Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other platforms, having Alexa built into the Facebook Portal+ makes this an excellent addition to your smart home.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.