The rumors are true: Facebook is getting into consumer electronics with a new gadget called Portal. So, it's introduced Facebook Portal and Portal+, two versions of a video communication device created to make it easier for you connect with friends and family.
London- Facebook on Monday launched a range of AI-powered video-calling devices, a strategic revolution for the social network giant which is aiming for a slice of the smart speaker market that is now dominated by Amazon and Google.
The Portal is available for pre-order in the U.S. now. You can save $100 off any two devices if you get the two pack.
Users can make voice calls to anyone in the world or chat with family and friends on an HD video call.
Portal is Facebook's answer to the Amazon Echo Show.
With Portal, you can completely disable the camera and microphone with a single tap. Both devices also have a camera cover for when they're not in use, which won't block incoming calls or notifications. On top of that, a screen passcode lets you prevent unauthorized use. That means Portal users can call other Portal users, as well as those with Facebook Messenger installed on their smartphones and tablets. In Facebook's favour, beyond the price difference, is the fact that the company can hook Portal's videoconferencing features into Facebook and Messenger, two services that cover a substantial chunk of the human race between them.
Like Alexa, you can delete the Portal's voice history via the Facebook Activity Log. Facebook also says it won't store any of the video sent through the camera on the computers in its data centers.
The $349 Portal+ has a 15-inch, 1920×1080 display that can pivot into portrait and landscape modes.
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This uses the Portal's Smart camera feature to transform your face and voice into those of the story's characters, meaning you can still give your kids (or your pets) un-rivaled bedtime tales no matter how far away you are. Both are Amazon Alexa-enabled video calling devices. There are no facial recognition features built into the video calling devices, either.
The mics go hand in hand with what Facebook calls its Smart Sound technology that's embedded into both Portal devices.
Portal, and a larger 15-inch Portal+ model, is billed by Facebook has a smart home device created to let users make calls to friends and family. The data affair uncovered problems with how Facebook allows third parties to access data it's gathered on its 2.2 billion monthly users.
While the long-anticipated product could eventually open up fresh display advertising revenue streams for Facebook, its launch comes in the aftermath of the social network's biggest ever data breach and amid growing concerns around user privacy.
The Portal and Portal+ are new video calling devices which feature built-in speakers and large touchscreens.