Facebook released its first devices: Portal and Portal +. These are smart displays designed for video calls and will be most conveniently located in the kitchen or living room. The first has a 10.1 “WXGA display with 10W speakers, while the second has a 15.6” Full HD display with 20W speakers and a 4 “woofer.
Both devices support voice command recognition and are tightly integrated with services Facebook. This means that video calls can be made through Facebook Messenger and Facebook Watch. They are also integrated with Spotify and Pandora.
Portal and Portal + have AI-powered features like Smart Camera and Smart Sound. The first automatically zooms in and out of the camera so that all participants in the video call get into the frame. The second one minimizes extraneous noise and makes the speaker's voice louder.
Portal and Portal + should compete with smart displays Amazon Echo Show and Google Home Hub. However, the Portal devices are also integrated with Alexa, so that through them it will be possible to use a personal assistant from Amazon. You can check the weather, control smart home devices, and more.
Confidentiality is a big problem for Facebook, which is why this time the company especially noted it. Users can completely mute the camera and microphone on Portal and Portal + with a single tap. They also come with a camera cover. Facebook also added the ability to set a 4 to 12 character password on displays.
The company also made it clear that “it doesn't listen to, view, or store your video calls.” All video calls will be encrypted. All smart functions work locally and no data is sent to the company's servers. The devices do not support face recognition, so they do not understand exactly who is using the device. Portal sends only voice commands to the servers Facebook, which are spoken after the keywords 'Hello Portal'. Moreover, even these can be easily erased from memory.
Portal and Portal + are pre-orders today. The first display costs $ 199 and the second one costs $ 349. If you order both, you can get a $ 100 discount. Displays will begin shipping to customers in November.
Compared to the Amazon Echo Show, the Portal displays seem minimal, but the focus is on video calling. Interestingly, devices cannot be used to view the feed on FaceBook. It is unlikely that new displays will be popular, because they really have very few functions.