Meta plans to stop making consumer versions of its Portal video calling hardware and instead pivot the product line to focus on use cases for businesses, like conference calling.
The change in strategy, first reported by The Information and confirmed to The Verge by a source familiar with the matter, comes as Meta is reassessing its ambitious hardware plans against investor concerns about the billions of dollars it’s spending on projects that have yet to pay off financially. A spokesperson for Meta declined to comment.
The Portal line debuted in 2018 with two displays meant as dedicated video calling stations. They also supported apps for activities like listening to music on Spotify and streaming videos on the Food Network. But the displays had limited functionality, and their connection to Facebook — which was dealing with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal — didn’t offer a lot of assurance as to the safety of inviting a connected camera into your home.
New versions have been released in the time since, including the portable Portal Go, but the device never became a huge hit. The research firm IDC estimates that Meta shipped 800,000 Portals in 2021, accounting for less than 1 percent of the global smart speaker and display market, according to The Information. Meta currently sells four Portal products, from a $99 TV-connected camera to a $349 smart display.