Il Facebook phone, which was then an HTC First with a customized version of Android (in turn called Facebook Home), was a disastrous flop. It was 2013 and that model was born old in technical specifications and disappointing in the user experience. The group had shoulders already wide enough to withstand the blow, but it was not a good figure. Portal it will not retrace the same story but it certainly did not give life to the product range that Meta expected: the news, in fact, is that those large smart displays launched in 2018 will no longer be sold to private consumers. Those devices – Portal, Portal +, Portal TV, Portal Go, and Portal Mini – will indeed come reserved for business customers: from “portals” that were supposed to revolutionize home entertainment, they will become expensive office videoconferencing furniture (as if there weren’t enough of them already).
The strange case of the Facebook page “Life is Like This” and its extraordinary numbers
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A nice step back, anticipated by The Information and confirmed by a source a The Verge, which on the other hand is part of the reorganization strategies of the hardware sector of the Californian group, very busy in the development of its metaverse. And more and more focused on developing and producing Oculus viewers, which are the main tool for diving into virtual reality. There are no official data available but the feeling is that the Portal were not exactly best sellers, despite the affordable prices and the features not too different from other similar smart displays. The only figures are those released by the IDC group according to which Meta sent about 800 thousand pieces in 2021securing less than 1% of the global smart speaker and smart display market.
Perhaps the scandal Cambridge Analyticawhich exploded in 2018, did not help: to use Portal you need to log in with your social media details and at the time the wave of mistrust towards the platform, which, on the other hand, continues today, certainly did not constitute the best prerequisite for get an “eye” on Menlo Park at home.
A (less) social life
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The other flops, from Poke to Diem
If we have already talked about the Facebook phone, Portal is certainly not the only other fiasco – of products and not of privacy, various scandals or regulations – of the Californian giant. The bulk of the disappointments, being a software company, came from the bombing of applications proposals over time to respond to the growing pressure of new and fresher competitors. Most of these apps were designed by Creative Labs of the group: these are essentially unknown or forgotten names. One was, in 2012, Poke, a sort of Snapchat clone. Years earlier there had been a first confidentiality scandal with Beacon, a kind of aggregator of activities on the web that were automatically republished on message boards. More recently, Mark Zuckerberg’s biggest burn is undoubtedly Pound/Diemthe stablecoin with its wallet (Calibra) as usual launched with great fanfare and sold off a few months ago to an anonymous US credit institution.
AR glasses will not arrive either
Also another project in the pipeline, internally baptized Nazareth, will undergo a change of times and strategies. These are glasses for augmented reality, which will not see the light in 2024, as initially planned. We will see some experimental pieces, good prototypes for developers, but the arrival on the market will still postpone, no one knows by how much.