Will a $50 Discount Drive Any Sales of Facebook Portal?
One device that appears to still have plenty of availability on Cyber Monday is Facebook Portal. Both the 10.1″ and 15.6″ models are available for $50 off on Facebook and Amazon websites. The real question is whether anyone wants the video chat device that doesn’t even enable full access to Facebook. The camera that follows the user and keeps them in frame, even with complaints about pixelation and speed, is a nice innovation. In theory, the integration with Alexa provides full smart display functionality. It certainly helps, but like many third-party Alexa-compatible devices it does not include the full range of Alexa features found in Amazon products. And, the video chat with non-Portal devices is not getting favorable reviews. The rationale for the Portal device is unclear at this point. Its video chat feature may just be better aligned with business use cases as it looks far more robust than other smart display offerings. For consumers, Facebook has more work to do.
Reviews Point to Value of Big Screen and Disadvantages of Immature Product
On Amazon, there are only 22 reviews for the 15″ model and 14 reviews for the 10″ model so we can surmise that Portals are not flying off the shelves. The 15″ model does better in ratings than the 10″ with a 4.1 average compared to 3.1. Contrast this with Amazon Echo Show 2nd Gen which was released around the same time and has 383 ratings with an average of 4.3 and you can see the real value of Portal is likely its screen size. A couple of review examples reinforce this idea. The first focuses on the large screen. A second review mentions the screen and then updates it with discovery around Alexa integration limitations and finally a decision to return the device in favor of an Echo Show 2nd Gen.
You can bet that Facebook plans to add deeper integration beyond photos with core Facebook and Facebook Live video in the coming year and that may increase the appeal to hardcore users of the social network. An integration with Instagram might even be a more popular feature with scrolling images and the option to share or comment by voice. Anyone buying a Facebook Portal today is betting on these evolutions as opposed to the current offering. Let us know on Twitter if you have a device and what you think.