Facebook is working on a camera-equipped streaming device codenamed ‘Ripley,’ according to a report from Cheddar.
Ripley will reportedly connect to a TV to offer video calling through Facebook Messenger, as well as streaming from entertainment services like Facebook’s Watch video platform.
Cheddar reports that Ripley uses the same core technology as the Portal, Facebook’s Amazon Echo Show-esque video chat device set to launch in the U.S. next month. There currently isn’t any word on a possible Canadian release.
Because Ripley is powered by the same technology as the Portal, the device is expected to also use artificial intelligence to automatically detect and follow users as they move throughout the frame during video calls. Like the Portal, Ripley will also presumably feature Amazon Alexa support to allow users to ask about news, weather, traffic and more.
According to Cheddar, Facebook aims to unveil Ripley in spring 2019, although the outlet notes that the device is still in development and this plan could change.
Facebook’s hardware plans haven’t gone very smoothly so far. The Portal was originally intended to be unveiled at Facebook’s F8 conference in May, although the company held off on an announcement in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal surrounding the data breach of millions of users.
Given that roughly 30 million people were affected in another data breach earlier this month, it makes even more sense for Facebook to wait until next year to reveal a new piece of camera-equipped hardware.
In response to ongoing privacy concerns, Facebook offers the ability to disable the Portal’s camera and microphone at any time. The video chat device also comes with a cover to block the camera lens.