News October 9, 2018

Facebook enter the smart speaker game, partners with Spotify, Pandora & iHeartRadio

Facebook enter the smart speaker game, partners with Spotify, Pandora & iHeartRadio

Facebook has thrown their hat into the smart speaker’s ring with the announcement of Portal and Portal+, the new ‘video communication device’ that is set to rival Google and Apple’s offerings.

The social media monolith has already confirmed partnerships with Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio with their Portal devices utilising AI-powered cameras and sound and hands-free voice control.

Although not confirmed as a music partner, Amazon’s Alexa will come built into the devices with users being able to activate the technology with the phrase, “Hey Portal”.

In a blog post, Facebook confirmed that more partnerships will be revealed in the near future.

Pandora is the only one of the confirmed partners so far to make an official statement, commenting, “We’re teaming up with Facebook for its launch of Portal, two new video communication devices for the home that allow users to engage in video chats with their closest friends and family, to help change that.

“Thanks to Pandora, music can be a part of the way you communicate. As of today, all listeners across ad-supported, Plus, and Premium tiers can play their music on Pandora using the power of their voice with Alexa, or share their favourite tunes while chatting with up to six friends directly on Portal’s touchscreen interface. And, when played, music will be magically synced across your Portal devices–  as if you were all in the same room together.”

The Portal systems are currently only available for preorder in the US at a price point of US$199 and US$399 for Portal+.

An Adobe Analytics’ study of 1,000 US consumers found that 48% will own one by end of the year – 32% already have one now (it was 16% in January 2018), and 16% intend to buy one in the run-up to Christmas.

While numbers are smaller in Australia, they’re increasing at a rapid rate. At the end of June 2018, Telsyte estimates that 1.5 million Australian households owned a smart speaker”

It was less than 10,000 in 2016.

That figure should hit 3 million by 2022 according to Telsyte’s forecast.

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