It’s been a tough week for Meta: after the company announced its first mass layoffs on Wednesday, it was reported(Opens in a new window) the tech giant is abandoning its smart display projects altogether.
According Lip(Opens in a new window)at a town hall meeting on Friday, Meta executives laid out plans to spin off the company’s Portal smart display business and discontinue two unreleased smartwatch projects.
The company has already made the decision(Opens in a new window) to move away from making Portal devices for consumers in June, except that it has already pulled the plug(Opens in a new window) on the dual-camera smartwatch, codenamed ‘Milan’.
The cuts come as Meta refocuses on developing metaverse technologies amid a global slowdown in ad sales(Opens in a new window)stiff competition from TikTok(Opens in a new window)and adverse economic effects of Apple’s privacy-focused tracking licenses(Opens in a new window).
In a letter(Opens in a new window) to employees on Wednesday, Meta announced 11,000 job cuts representing 13% of its total workforce. It marks the first mass layoffs in the company’s 18-year history and is the largest volume of workers expected to lose their jobs at a major technology company.
Portal was launched in 2018 when Facebook’s parent company was still called Facebook. It has arrived in an already crowded smart speaker/display market. Amazon debuted its Alexa-powered Echo speaker in 2014, while Google Home (now Nest) launched in 2016.
If you still want a Portal, you’ll have to act fast: a banner on the official Portal website(Opens in a new window) reads Meta Portal TV, 10″ and GO are available until December 31st, “while supplies last”. You can buy a Portal for just $67.99 on Amazon(Opens in a new window) (its list price is $179).
We reviewed Portal Go last year and said that “Facebook Portal Go is a unique smart display with a built-in battery and handle so you can easily move it from room to room, but it also comes with some surprising limitations.”
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