Facebook Portal Combines Video Calling and Alexa for $199

Facebook wants people to invite its cameras into their homes

Facebook wants people to invite its cameras into their homes  08 Oct 2018- 15:55

What do you think about Facebook's first hardware products?

The new video call devices are powered by AI, with Facebook's "Smart Camera" technology created to follow you as you move around the room and zoom in to the action, meaning you can continue chatting over video while doing chores, cooking in the kitchen, or looking for something in your room.

It can be used to make video calls to friends and family via the social media giant's Messenger platform. The Portal also doesn't record any of the chats you have on it, online or offline, making it safer, on paper, than the Echo. The 10.1-inch display has a resolution of 1280x800 and has 10W dual speakers. Think of it as a personal cinematographer: A 12-megapixel camera - equivalent to the one in most phones - identifies the shape of people within its 140-degree field of view, and pans and zooms to make sure they're always in the frame. 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.

The device has an emphasis on video conferencing and comes in two versions - the Portal and Portal+.

Pre-orders are available from Facebook right now, with the smaller Portal being priced at $199 and the Portal+ coming in at $349. Both come in white or black.

Portal also supports music and video services, such as Facebook Watch, Food Network, Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Newsy and more are said to be on the way.

It got delayed after Facebook found itself in the privacy scandal earlier this year, but finally Facebook's smart video calling device is here.

Facebook states that its Portal speakers are designed with privacy in mind, and the products ship with a physical camera cover for users who do not fully trust the option to disable the hardware.

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. You can use the Portal hands-free by using the command "Hey Portal", and it also has Amazon's Alexa built-in so you can access all of its great features as well.

Arriving in the United States in November, Facebook Portal is a $199 (£152) 10-inch screen, with two speakers and a high-quality webcam attached, which the company hopes users will put in their living rooms and kitchens and use to launch video chats with friends and loved ones. It looks a lot like the original Amazon Echo Show, and even comes in an optional black color scheme. "Our goal is to make you feel present in the same space as the person on the other end", said Rafa Camargo, the Facebook vice-president overseeing Portal. If you preorder, though, you can save $100 when buying two Portal devices at once. Two different models were announced today, the Portal and the larger Portal+.

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