It’s been rumored for a long time that Facebook will release its very own video chat device. Now, a new report claims that Facebook might launch it next week and it could be called “Portal.”

Facebook reportedly plans to unveil the Portal video chat device next week and it is said to have functionalities that are similar to the Amazon Echo Show, according to the financial website Cheddar. Facebook Portal is also said to come with social features and will likely be available in two screen sizes. No information was given on the exact screen sizes of the device, but the larger model could cost around $400, while the smaller model might cost around $300.

Facebook originally planned to launch the Portal video chat device in May during its annual F8 conference. However, the company decided to postpone the product’s launch at the last minute since it was the height of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the alleged Russian interference during the 2016 election, as pointed out by Engadget.

Facebook Portal will primarily be used for making video calls, which is why it will be equipped with a front-facing wide-angle camera. It will have a physical shutter that will allow users to cover the camera, which should address any concerns over privacy. Portal will also have artificial intelligence features, including recognizing people’s faces and the ability to follow them around using the camera.

Since smart home speakers are already quite popular, the Facebook Portal device will also come with voice assistant features. The device will allegedly come with Amazon Alexa voice assistant support, which can be used to play music, videos, view cooking recipes and see the latest news. Alexa voice commands will also be used for making or taking video chat calls.

Bringing Alexa integration seems like a smart move from Facebook since Amazon’s voice assistant is already equipped with many skills and it should be more than enough to please users of Portal. This also eliminates the need for Facebook to develop its own AI-powered voice assistant.

Facebook employees have allegedly been testing the Portal chat device for months now and the company has reportedly shown the device to some “major retailers.” If true, then this means that the device’s release is imminent and that a launch for next week seems very likely.

Portal is believed to have been developed by Building 8, Facebook’s secret research and development center for hardware products. It will be the company’s very first hardware product to be released that isn’t part of its Oculus virtual reality headsets.

Facebook Facebook's Portal chat device will allegedly be revealed next week. Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic