Surprise! People don’t want Facebook cameras in their homes.
Not many people, it turns out, want a Facebook-manufactured camera in their home.
This extremely intuitive revelation comes to us today via Fast Company, which reported that, according to sources at companies which supply parts for Portal cameras, only a “very low” number of the devices are shipping. Who would have thought?
Sure, Facebook is repeatedly embroiled in privacy scandal after privacy scandal, but surely that wouldn’t stop anyone from shelling out their hard-earned cash to purchase a Facebook camera that also listens in on their conversations. Oh, wait.
For the blissfully unaware, Facebook initially launched two versions of the Portal — a dedicated device for video calls — back in in 2018 for $199 and $349. Updated versions of the device, along with a TV-mounted camera, are now on sale, ranging from $129 to $179.
Notably, Facebook has in the past refused to disclosed specific sales numbers for its line of camera-enabled smart devices. Andrew Bosworth, vice president of AR and VR at Facebook, however, has insisted in the past that sales are “very good.”
We reached out to Facebook in an attempt to confirm Fast Company’s reporting, but received no immediate response. Probably too busy shipping those orders!
An important question, of course, is what exactly does “very low” mean? Fast Company cites Rakuten, which monitors online sales, as putting the number at around “0.6% of units sold in the overall smart-speaker category.”
Despite Bosworth’s refusal to provide sales specifics when pressed as recently as last month at a Portal event in San Francisco, the company decided to push ahead and unveil an entire second generation of the cameras.
Perhaps Bosworth and his team misunderstood the demand after spending too much time reading the positive Portal reviews left on Amazon by people sharing names with Facebook employees? It’s impossible to know for sure.
We are relatively certain of the fact, though, that Facebook will push ahead to fulfill its vision of a Facebook-controlled camera in every home — and a corresponding potential privacy disaster in every pot.
Too bad for Facebook that its customer base doesn’t appear to feel like obliging.