Facebook launches AI video-calling device 'Portal'

Facebook launches AI video-calling device 'Portal'

Facebook launches AI video-calling device 'Portal'

Facebook released a smart speaker created to ease video calls, known as Portal.

The cheaper Portal has a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 display that's fixed in landscape mode, while the Portal+ has a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 screen that can pivot between portrait and landscape modes. As you might expect, its main goal is to connect you with other Facebook users via Messenger; say "Hey Portal" to start a video call.

Facebook Inc on Monday released a smart speaker created to ease video calls, but the company's history of privacy mishaps and the device's price and limited functionality could slow it from taking on market leaders Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google.

Pre-orders are available from Facebook right now, with the smaller Portal being priced at $199 and the Portal+ coming in at $349. You can save $100 off any two devices if you get the two pack. Designed specifically for video-calls, the hi-def camera has the ability to detect how many people there are in the room, and focus on them, panning and zooming on the subject's face as they move around. That means Portal users can call other Portal users, as well as those with Facebook Messenger installed on their smartphones and tablets. The Portal may be competing against Amazon Echo devices, but the same Alexa assistant will power them. They also come with a camera cover so that one can easily cover the camera when not in use. It will also show you photos and videos from your Facebook library. Meanwhile, the larger Portal+ boasts a 15.6-inch Full HD display, and it's coupled with 20W speakers and a four-inch bass woofer.

"You can call Facebook friends and connections on Messenger even if they don't have Portal". In fact, Portal supports Amazon Alexa, allowing users to control its functions by voice control, as well as ask for information around things like the weather or sports results.

Facebook is rolling out its first-ever tech gadget - and it's every bit as creepy as you'd expect. You can delete your Portal's voice history in your Facebook Activity Log at any time. You can start a video call simply by saying "Hey Portal" and noting who you'd like to call.

On the surface, these may look like some of the other smart displays on the market, like Lenovo's Smart Display or Amazon's Echo Show, it's what's inside that makes it different.

Facebook has launched its very first piece of hardware you can buy, if you disregard its Oculus-branded headsets and the ill-fated HTC First.

Conspiracy theories aside, it's good to see that there's a department in Facebook that's putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to user data protection... but the way the Portal is built can also be perceived as an extremely limiting experience too.

Portal and the larger Portal+ use AI-powered technology to automatically pan and zoom and minimize background noise for video calls. Select content partners like Spotify ($SPOT), Pandora ($P), Food Network, and Newsy are integrated into the devices at launch, with plans to add more services over time. Both are Amazon Alexa-enabled video calling devices. Camargo told Cheddar that the devices' success will be measured internally by how much "engagement" they create with Facebook's video calling and other services.

Related news

[an error occurred while processing the directive]