Still reeling from a security breach that affected up to 90 million users, Facebook has announced two new pieces of hardware created to make video chat easier and more immersive than ever.
The smaller Portal packs a 10-inch display with 1280 x 800 resolution, while the Plus gets you a 15-inch screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution. The key difference with Facebook's Portal is that it comes in two sizes and focuses its efforts around webcam chats using its Messenger app.
The $199 Portal and $399 Portal+ are only available for pre-order in the U.S. and will begin shipping in November.
The Portal family includes two variants, the Portal and Portal+. Thanks to Alexa from Amazon, you can initiate video calls simply by using your voice, plus a suite of AI tech makes your experience more rich.
Facebook's Portal looks like it will be great for video chats with other friends on Facebook, but will that be enough?
Now, Facebook is trying to get consumers to trust the company with a device that contains its own hardware, microphone and camera in the middle of their homes, so it's no wonder Facebook is stressing the privacy features, such as ways to disable the mic and cover the camera. To prevent unwanted visitors from using your Portal, you can set a passcode from four to 12 digits in length.
They said Portal is available at Amazon and Best Buy stores in addition to Facebook.com and starts shipping to US customers in early November.
Both models also include an internet-connected speaker that includes Amazon's voice-activated digital assistant, Alexa. Facebook also says that cameras in the Portal and Portal+ come with a cover that should give an assurance to people that Facebook is not watching their moves. It will also show you photos and videos from your Facebook library. The Portal+ uses a 1080P display that measures 15.6 inches diagonally.
During calls, it can also play music on Spotify or videos from Facebook Watch, as well as tell children stories via augmented effects app Story Time. The device only sends voice commands to Facebook's servers after the words "Hey, Portal" are said, according to Camargo.
What do you think of Facebook hardware launch? The company says the camera only runs locally, it does not connect to its servers and the only recordings it keeps are voice commands that people can see in their activity logs and can be deleted.
The device has an emphasis on video conferencing and comes in two versions - the Portal and Portal+.
Portal, and a larger 15-inch Portal+ model, is billed by Facebook has a smart home device created to let users make calls to friends and family.
Earlier in the year, it was forced to admit that the personal data of tens of millions of users had been hijacked by Cambridge Analytica, a political firm working for Donald Trump in 2016. Both the devices feature a 12MP camera on the front for pictures and video calls, with 4-microphone array for voice input. All video calls over Portals are encrypted.
Portal is powered by an AI camera that "stays with the action" and automatically zooms to keep people in the frame.
The Portal Plus device can also swivel into vertical orientation, similar to how people are used to viewing and video-calling through their phones.