Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Wayne Curry

Facebook announces Portal and Portal

Facebook announces Portal and Portal

They offer Facebook and Messenger on their touchscreens to connect loved ones and friends over the internet - displaying live video or profile pages simply and hands-free.

Facebook is launching two versions of the Portal: A model with a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 display will cost $199, while the larger 15.6-inch 1080p Portal Plus will cost $349.

Facebook on Monday unveiled a pair of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered smart video chat devices, Portal and Portal +, which are created to connect people and feel like being in the same room. As you might expect, its main objective is to connect you with other Facebook users via Messenger; say "Hey Portal" to start a video call.

But Facebook understands that some users might be concerned about allowing a device that's always listening into their homes, so it has provided a number of privacy protection features.

Facebook on Monday launched a range of AI-powered video-calling devices, a strategic revolution for the social network giant in its bid for a slice of a market now dominated by Amazon and Google.

The main selling point of these devices is that the cameras track action and automatically pan and zoom to keep the subjects of the video in view.

Portal lets users place Facebook's augmented reality camera effects, like those found in Instagram, over their faces during video calls. Both the devices will use a 12-megapixel camera to enable video calls.

The Portal will have Alexa built in (and possibly Google Assistant in the future), so you'll be able to use it to check news, weather, and sports and control smart home devices.

When people are not on a call, Portal's "Superframe" can display favourite photos and videos and important notifications like birthday reminders. Users also have the ability to add a passcode so that random people can't just begin using the Portal. Portal's camera doesn't use facial recognition and doesn't identify who you are. It has the same camera and microphone arrangement as the smaller Portal but better sound with two tweeter and one woofer arrangement totaling 20W. Users can delete voice history whenever they wish by going into their Facebook Activity Log as well.

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It only takes a single tap to disable both the microphone and camera.

Again, Portal and Portal+ are up for pre-order in the United States on Facebook, as well as Amazon and Best Buy.

The Portal is the closest in style to the Echo Show, with a 10.1-inch 720p screen.

Do you plan on picking up a new Portal?

On Monday, Facebook unveiled the $200 Portal, the first-ever consumer hardware from the world's largest social network.

Not too long ago the Cambridge Analytica scandal popped up, as you well remember I'm sure.

In video calls, Facebook is offering integrations with Spotify Premium, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and its own video platform to let users watch or listen to content together on a call.

Still, Amazon has shipped 1 million of its Echo speakers with displays over the last year, according to research firm Canalys, which expects 4 million such devices across brands to ship globally next year. While some might find that creepy, Facebook says the goal is to show people they don't have to be stuck in front of the screen to communicate.

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