Facebook announces Portal, Portal

12 October, 2018, 05:13 | Author: Leah Owens
  • Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices

Both devices have a pretty clean design - with one seeming like a sleeker-looking Amazon's Echo Show, and the Portal+ looks like a tablet with a 15.6-inch display.

"This is going to gain [Facebook] not only a place in the smart home, but also data they may not have been able to collect before or understand before", ABI Research analyst Jonathan Collins said.

The devices' "smart camera" and "smart sound" technology will give the Portal and Portal+ the ability to focus and follow a person and the sound of one's voice around a room, creating an effect that Facebook said is "like having your own cinematographer and sound crew". The Facebook Portal and larger Portal+ can be described basically as smart speakers with screens, with features competitive to the Amazon Echo Show.

The Portal boasts a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display. The Portal conversations stay between you and the people you're calling. Portal you can use your voice to start a call, control device settings like volume, and more.

And it's also not encouraging that the only way to log in to a Portal device is by using your Facebook credentials considering that 50 million accounts were recently compromised.

For those not jazzed about giving Facebook that much access, maybe don't buy the Portal. And the device offers the usual smart speaker capabilities (smart home control, Alexa skills) and big-name music partners (Spotify, Pandora, etc.), along with some nascent video capabilities (Facebook Watch, Food Network, etc.). It costs 1,699 yuan (US$250), has a 8-inch screen, and also lets users make video calls and watch videos on iQiyi... which is odd, because iQiyi is owned by Baidu, but JD.com is owned by Tencent - you'd think they'd use Tencent Video instead.

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Portal, of course, is not quite an original device.

When you are not using the video calling feature, Portal's Superframe can display your favorite photos and videos and important notifications like birthday reminders, anniversaries to make you feel a little more connected to your closest family and friends. Unlike a regular phone or video call, there's no ringing, and you never have to "answer" the call - they just appear instantly.

Although Facebook acquired virtual reality headset manufacturer Oculus in 2014, this is the first time it has developed a consumer hardware product in-house.

Mark Zuckerberg noticed that everyone is talking about how Facebook Portal is eavesdropping on their conversations and he decided to make the following statement: "Facebook Portal doesn't listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls".

Facebook's Portal and Portal+ smart speakers may turn out to be very useful devices, but the issue that users have with the announcement of Facebook's first gadget is that it arrives after a massive Facebook security breach.

Can you imagine a cross between a smart speaker, digital picture frame and a video camera?

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