[ibd-display-video id=3074620 width=50 float=left autostart=true] A report from news site Cheddar said the device represents Facebook's first serious foray into selling consumer hardware, according to people familiar with the matter.
Facebook is currently planning to price Portal at $499 but could decide to lower the price to further spur consumer adoption, the Cheddar report said. It said that Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told employees he wants the device to change user behavior and encourage phone-like usage among owners. Facebook is expected to introduce Portal at its developers conference in May and ship sometime in the second half of the year.
The Portal device is expected to compete most directly with the Amazon Echo Show, introduced in May as an addition to Amazon's line of artificially intelligent smart speakers voiced by Alexa. The devices connect to the internet and provide a wide array of services, in one of the hottest categories in consumer electronics.
The Amazon Echo Show is a smart speaker with an integrated 7-inch touch screen that people can use for video-based calls, priced at $229.99.
Amazon is the market leader in smart speakers for the home, followed by Alphabet ( GOOGL ) with its Google Home device . Other competitors include the HomePod from Apple ( AAPL ). Amazon and Alphabet have jockeyed for the spotlight at media events during the annual CES consumer technology trade show currently underway in Las Vegas.
IBD'S TAKE:New products or services are part of the N in IBD's CAN SLIM investing system . Strong growth in earnings is the No. 1 factor to look for in a stock, but new products or services often generate stellar profitability.
So-called virtual digital assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo are expected to be widely dispersed throughout homes across the U.S. and become a multibillion-dollar market . The devices could evolve into the next major disruption in computing and put the smart home on a fast track .
Facebook shares inched down 3 cents to close at 187.84 on the stock market today . Shares of Amazon gained 0.1% to finishe at 1,254.33. Alphabet shares slipped 0.2% to 1,110.14. All three stocks are near record highs.
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