Last year, Facebook announced a home streaming and video communication product that they saw as the “it” product that everyone should have to keep connected with loved ones.
The problem there is that Xbox tried the same thing in 2010 with Kinect + Skype for home. It seems that everyone in the market forgot that in 2010, no one wanted a tracking device in their living room for talking with relatives and friends.
In 2019, 54,000 unit sales on their first-generation product underscores that very few, if anyone, wants a Facebook listening device in their living room.
Part of this may be due to recent disclosures that Amazon’s Alexa has been recording full conversations and even customers having sex in their homes.
With their second generation portal product just unveiled, Facebook will need to take a look beyond an Xbox style AR overlay or doodle while you talk feature.
Well simply because with Google home, Alexa, Amazon dot, Cortana and a host of third-party voice-activated communication systems already in homes, Facebook is late to the game with a product that is just meh.
Additionally, ask yourself: If you already have Facebook messenger installed on a phone or computer, do you really need a dedicated Facebook device for primarily talking to connections…on Facebook?
While their head of product development has been optimistic about the product, 59,000 units sold and an estimate of potentially 300,000 units in the field don’t impress. These numbers represent less than 1% market share for the overall video communication platform market.
For users to get on board, privacy, questions of listening in on messenger chats and some basic features that users REALLY want need to be developed.
For now, Portal looks like another product of the echo chamber in Silicon Valley that is proving a tough lesson for Facebook, as they dabble in the Hardware space.