Facebook announced the Portal last week, but the Menlo Park-based company isn’t stopping at smart displays to be an integral part of the home.
Known as ‘Ripley’ behind closed doors, the project is built around communication and artificial intelligence. The Portal is different, though. Rather than creating another smart display or an entire television, Facebook plans on introducing an attachment for all users to take advantage of. It places a camera lens at the top of any TV while offering access to apps and services.
It would connect via HDMI, meaning a showdown with streaming devices like Fire TV and the Chromecast should be in the works. Facebook could have an all-in-one hub for communication as well as entertainment. That would certainly be different than what competitors have in their portfolios today.
Just don’t expect to see Facebook’s TV attachment go official this year. It’s lined up for a global debut in the first half of 2019. Between now and then, Facebook will be able to monitor the Portal and make adjustments before its project enters mass production.
In the report from Cheddar, it’s made clear that Facebook wants to expand into hardware with its own name. Oculus, was acquired in 2014, succeeded in virtual reality. The transition to artificial intelligence would be too difficult for Oculus, and Facebook’s one of the most well-known brands in the world.
Facebook also had brain-scanning and a smart armband in development. Both are on hold or canceled, according to the report. But there’s still activity inside the secretive Building 8 laboratory.