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After lengthy rumours Facebook has finally announced Portal, their answer to the Amazon Echo Show.
The device has an emphasis on video conferencing and comes in two versions – the Portal and Portal+. Featuring a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display, Portal from Facebook improves video calling hands and distraction free. The Portal+ has a bigger 15-inch 1920 x 1080 pivoting display.
The devices feature:
Intelligent Design, Invisible Tech
Powered by AI, Portal’s Smart Camera and Smart Sound technology take all of the guesswork out of video calling, letting you enjoy a more convenient, hands-free experience. Whether you’re cooking in the kitchen or chasing the kids around the living room, Smart Camera stays with the action and automatically pans and zooms to keep everyone in view. Smart Sound minimizes background noise and enhances the voice of whoever is talking, no matter where they move.
Connect with Facebook and Messenger Friends
You can call Facebook friends and connections on Messenger even if they don’t have Portal. Calls can be made to and from Messenger-enabled smartphones and tablets. Portal supports group calls of up to seven people at the same time.
Voice Control + Alexa
Portal offers hands-free voice control. You can start a video call simply by saying “Hey Portal” and noting who you’d like to call. Portal also has Amazon Alexa built in, so you have access to a robust voice experience to ask for sports scores, check the weather, control smart home devices, order groceries, and more.
Built with Privacy + Security in Mind
Facebook is aware of privacy concerns and notes Portal lets you:
- You can completely disable the camera and microphone with a single tap.
- Portal and Portal+ also come with a camera cover, so you can easily block your camera’s lens at any time and still receive incoming calls and notifications, plus use voice commands.
- To manage Portal access within your home, you can set a four- to 12-digit passcode to keep the screen locked. Changing the passcode requires your Facebook password.
Portal also enables shared activities like listening to music together or watching some of your favorite shows. Facebook has partnered with Spotify Premium, Pandora, and iHeartRadio, as well as Facebook Watch, Food Network and Newsy with mode on the way.
The service also has a parent-friendly side. Facebook has incorporating augmented reality (AR) effects — powered by their Spark AR platform — to make calls fun and interactive. Story Time brings stories to life with custom sound effects and visuals. Smart Camera helps you read a fun story via a simple teleprompter, perfectly framed, while your loved ones on the other side watch as your face and voice transform into the story’s characters.
And when you’re not on a call, Portal’s Superframe can display your favourite photos and videos and important notifications like birthday reminders, so you always feel a little more connected to your closest family and friends.
Portal and Portal+ are available now for pre-order in the US – from Facebook, Amazon and Best Buy – and will begin shipping in November. You can bring Portal home for $199 USD and Portal+ for $349 USD. You can also receive $100 USD off any two devices — this means a bundle of two Portal devices will be priced at $298 USD, so you can share the experience right out of the box.
You can pre-order it here from Amazon.