Facebook’s new hardware is an odd offering

Facebook’s new hardware is an odd offering, coming from a company beset by security concerns. Portal, a video-messaging device, comes complete with an artificial intelligence camera that pans around to follow the person speaking. Releasing a product that tracks one’s every move is a strange way to reassure users about privacy. Facebook is also late to the party. In the US, Google and Amazon have clinched the smart-device market. One in five households with a WiFi connection now has a smart speaker. Video-messaging devices are not yet widespread, but Google is expected to launch a product soon. Portal is expensive too, at $200, or $350 for the larger device. Amazon’s cheapest smart speaker sold for just $50 last year, and the company has a cheaper version of a video device… But Facebook has 2.2 billion users to strong-arm into using its products… How Facebook plans to make money from its devices, however, is unclear. About 95 per cent of revenue comes from online advertising and Facebook has room to raise its share from about 20 per cent. But not if it depends on another invasive home device. Facebook? More like facepalm.