Sci-tech

Facebook Portal smart displays put Messenger on your countertop

Facebook Portal smart displays put Messenger on your countertop”

Facebook has revealed a new video calling device that could put a camera in millions of homes, marking a major move into hardware for the social networking giant. 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.

The company's Portal smart display is a 10.1-inch 720p device with a 12MP front camera.

In In an attempt to reassure users over the firm's record around user privacy, Facebook said the device comes with a camera lens cover and the ability to disable both the camera and the microphone with a single tap.

A four mic array picks up voices for voice recognition and calling, while the stereo speakers included are capable of 10W total output.

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.

Last month, Adobe forecast in a research paper that 48% of US-based consumers would own a smart speaker by the end of this year. Both come in white or black.

When you're not video chatting, you can use Portal to watch shows on Facebook Watch or The Food Network, or to stream music from Spotify, Pandora, or iHeartRadio.

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.

They said Portal is available at Amazon and Best Buy stores in addition to Facebook.com and starts shipping to USA customers in early November. The bigger Portal+ sports a huge 15.6-inch Full HD display, which you can also rotate between portrait and landscape. And there's a plastic privacy shield you can keep over the camera, though it looks like an afterthought.

With that in mind, the cameras built into Portal are created to intelligently track you as you make your calls.

"For added security, Smart Camera and Smart Sound use AI technology that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers".

Unlike the Echo Show and Lenovo Smart Displays, which are more general-purpose devices, the Portal is centered around video chats through Facebook Messenger.

Facebook Portal, the smaller of the two. If you preorder, though, you can save $100 when buying two Portal devices at once. Dave Kaufman, the marketing lead for Facebook's Portal division, commented on the device stating: "Portal+ and Portal really live up to that idea of helping you feel closer and allowing you to spend more quality time with people, even if they live thousands of miles away from you".

Click below to pre-order your Facebook Portal or Facebook Portal Plus today!



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