Facebook hasn't found its place in hardware, but it's getting closer.
Unlike Apple, Amazon or even Google, Facebook has struggled to find a hardware product with mass appeal. It has a niche virtual reality business with Oculus VR. And, it partnered with HTC in 2013 to launch a phone that ultimately flopped.
Now, Facebook is trying hardware again with two new devices, the Portal and Portal+ smart screens, which are the company's version of devices like the Amazon Echo Show and Google Home Hub, and available beginning Thursday.
There are two models, the $199 Portal with a 10.1-inch screen and the $349 Portal+ with a larger 15.6-inch screen that rotates. They're meant to be smart displays, but with a focus on video chat through Facebook's Messenger service.
The video chat experience is fantastic, with excellent video quality, top-notch microphones and great speakers. But compared with products by Amazon and Google, the Portal and Portal+ need to do more. Plus, a lot of people are seriously concerned about Facebook's record when it comes to data privacy.
Here's what you need to know about Facebook's biggest hardware attempt ever.» Subscribe to CNBC: http://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC
About CNBC: From 'Wall Street' to 'Main Street' to award winning original documentaries and Reality TV series, CNBC has you covered. Experience special sneak peeks of your favorite shows, exclusive video and more.
Connect with CNBC News Online
Get the latest news: http://www.cnbc.com/
Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: https://cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC
Follow CNBC News on Facebook: http://cnb.cx/LikeCNBC
Follow CNBC News on Twitter: http://cnb.cx/FollowCNBC
Follow CNBC News on Google+: http://cnb.cx/PlusCNBC
Follow CNBC News on Instagram: http://cnb.cx/InstagramCNBC
Facebook Portal Review - Great For Video Calls But Lacks Compelling Features
Sorry but I don't need another device. What happened to Zoom, Skype and Facetime for talking to people?
Tony Banks (21 days ago)
Besides the “active camera” feature, it gets pretty boring. When you guys review these gadgets, please talk about what we’re interested in: Can we use Alexa to turn on our tv? Can we use Alexa to access Netflix? Can it handshake with my other WIFi devices? Example: “Hey, Alexa: Turn the lights off in the kitchen and turn the heat up to 74 degrees”. Can I view who’s at my front door by accessing Ring Doorbell? Can I cast a video from my smartphone to the Portal or from the Portal to my tv? Can I broadcast a voice message from one Portal to another Portal device in a different room? These are the things we need to know if we’re gonna shell out a minimum $200 dollars...
John barfneck (29 days ago)
portal so hackers can see eveything you have in your home with out having too break in?????????????????????? and too see if your alone in the house or if the house is empty.........pure genius..............???????
Maryna Medvedieva (1 month ago)
Who will buy it, really. Everyone has camera on the phone
47crazed (1 month ago)
or just get an ipad air or ipad mini
Scott Cornelius (1 month ago)
Can't you do most of Portal's features on your iPhone? I really don't see this product becoming popular.
LF (1 month ago)
I'll buy for each of my family on this holiday. pretty handy + the story telling would help me develop some story time for business.
HDaviator (1 month ago)
Get that thing as far away from me as possible.
S.B.G (1 month ago)
Its a tablet with amovinv camera
Paper Dragon (1 month ago)
They should have called it Instagram Portal and pretend the focus is awesome selfies and live streams. Then they would get that camera in your house.
Phantom Stranger (26 days ago)
Facebook should hire you, man!
Melissa Schmitz (1 month ago)
More competent than their marketing team already.
Victorino Philadelphia (1 month ago)
Who in their right mind will even think about messing with FaceBook after they have already leaked all of their users information before, And now they want to be right there in your home, And just think when you're talking to your friends and watching them, While not even knowing who's actually watching you , That's just way too much inside information, I think it's not a good thing to have, You just won't have any kind of #privacy , And with FaceBook We all know that bad things always ends up happening, On line Death from FB live, I'm sorry but
John Gyver (1 month ago)
I wouldn't put that thing in my house even if it was free.
Sayak Das (1 month ago)
No, Sir. We didn't know when we signed up for Facebook as and didn't think about for a second what we were giving away. Now, for one and half years, I haven't liked any sort of products or pages in Facebook
ID-ERROR 404 (1 month ago)
I don't trust Facebook
Tommy's Turnout Tips (1 month ago)
As soon as I found out it used Alexa I knew I needed one!
MIKE BARAN (1 month ago)
Tramaine Terrance (1 month ago)
Hello, Humans. Sometimes in life, two random black guys leave a comment. Everything is a mystery, until it isn't.
DreBone1986 (1 month ago)
Why would I pay $350 for any device that only makes video calls on one platform, also aren't you Facebook, you know the people that does this for free anyway? Plus that whole thing where you sell my information to the highest bidder doesn't help, company more blind than Trump about how the public views them, SMH
4,999,999 Subscribers (1 month ago)
GAMESupporter Gaming (1 month ago)
It's a portal to Zuckerberg and his buddies at the CIA and FBI to your house, probarly has like a 90 MP Camera for telling awesome spy pics of u
Green Brain Seaside (1 month ago)
who in their sane mind would get a surveillance device from none other then Facebook :) as if they aren't doing enough tracking already.
Vandicoup (1 month ago)
“Look what I got!”
“It looks half-dead...”
*”Just like YOU!”*
Best ad I’ve EVER seen in a LONG TIME lmfao!!
Mario Angel Ruiz (1 month ago)
dajetmiko (1 month ago)
People complain about facebook yet (majority of them) still uses instagram
Calvin Ryu (1 month ago)
So why do we need this?
Sam Finance Tech (1 month ago)
Good try for FB to enter hardware space...
Muhammad Ali (1 month ago)
Here is a product that I will never put in my home. Surly the camera and mic will be used to gather more data about the users.
wildreams (1 month ago)
But you don't need Facebook to use messenger.
Anthony C (1 month ago)
Majority of Facebook users are at or near the poverty line and have very low IQ. This product will not sell well
Trump MuelllersBaine (1 month ago)
Facebook is the leading spreaders of AIDS. Next to liberals. Who run a close second.
Joe Mannix (1 month ago)
Most people who use Facebook cant breathe if they cant use face book and dont know how to use a phone to make a phone call.
Elizabeth Maserang (1 month ago)
Liar. We are not all at poverty level! Why r u lying? Are u a bot or just an instigator?
ARBAZ QURESHI (1 month ago)
Facebook is crap
Ari Edson (1 month ago)
This is literally taken out of George Orwells 1984. It's just creepy.
Gido (1 month ago)
I've wanted to read that book since everyone keeps talking about it.
ramos ramirez (1 month ago)
The wet dream of the cia and nsa.
Quick Fix - Thought Provoking Videos (1 month ago)
Facebook uses your phone camera and microphone to track you and target you. What do you think it's gonna do with this Portal to your place?
Gido (1 month ago)
Are you going to be the that one persin who is always going to be in the comments?