The FacebookPortal costs $199 and the Portal+ retails for $349. If the video call has multiple people in the frame, the camera shifts to a wide-angle mode, keeping everyone in its bounding box. Portal and Portal+ are 10- and 15-inch smart displays complete with integrated cameras and packed with AI. Facebook's new Portal smart displays will make it easier for Facebook users to contact each other. The 10.1-inch display has a resolution of 1280x800 and has 10W dual speakers. The speaker sits at the bottom of the display, while a camera, more noticeable than that on the regular Portal, sits at the top.
Compared to Amazon Echo Show, the Portal devices seem pretty limited in nature with a strong emphasis being laid on video calling. The microphone and camera can also be turned off, and there's no way to record video.
You can call Facebook friends and connections on Messenger even if they don't have Portal.
In order to make the Portal hands-free, Facebook has enabled voice controls - all you have to do is say "Hey Portal" followed by the name of who you would like to call to start a video chat.
Users will also be able to stream audio from Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio-and share it with others on their call-as well as watch videos on the device. Users can ask for things like weather forecasts, traffic updates, and sports scores, but it's unclear if all of Alexa's more than 50,000 skills are available on Portal devices. If there are a bunch of people chatting, the camera will zoom out in an attempt to get everyone into the shot at the same time.
Facebook describes these machines as ideal for video chatting on Facebook Messenger.
The social media giant claims that it won't "listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal calls", and that all calls are encrypted for heightened security.
This uses the Portal'sSmart camera feature to transform your face and voice into those of the story's characters, meaning you can still give your kids (or your pets) un-rivaled bedtime tales no matter how far away you are. You can delete the voice history from your Facebook Activity Log at any time. As a camera, it offers a nice upgrade to the Skype or FaceTime video-chat experience that many of us have on a phone or computer.
Portal is similar to Amazon'sEcho Show. The inclusion of Amazon's software is an odd choice given that this appears to be a direct competitor to the Amazon Alexa line of devices. Facebook has incorporating augmented reality (AR) effects - powered by their Spark AR platform - to make calls fun and interactive.
Since Echo's release almost four years ago, both Google and Apple have followed Amazon in releasing smart speakers designed for use with their other digital services - some of them, at least.
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