Home » Tech

Facebook Unveils Smart Speaker for Messenger video calls with Alexa

11 October, 2018, 23:34 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices

Facebook representatives prefer to talk about their "mission" rather than business models and profits, but wireless speakers and video calls are a growing market.

Smart Sound minimises background noise and enhances the voice of whoever is talking, no matter where they move. Facebook has also developed a new artificial intelligence software called Smart Camera, which will work by sensing people's movements and automatically pan, zoom, and frame the picture without requiring any intervention. However, it will not be possible to record.

Since Facebook uses Amazon's Alexa voice assistant to power Portal, it will be hard to catch up to Amazon's smart-home saturation. With Portal an Portal +, you can check your favorite recipes from the Food Network, add effects to your videos (Facebook's Spark Augmented Reality), and when video calling is not active, it can be used like a smart box where you can display photos and videos. Users can start a video call simply by saying "Hey Portal" and noting who they'd like to call.

Portal speakers are meant to aid in video calls though skeptics are concerned this might prove to be another avenue for hackers.

Portal marks Facebook's foray into the smart speakers segment, taking on other tech giants like Amazon, Google and Apple.

Both devices arrive in November, but you can pre-order them starting today for $199 and $349 via portal.facebook.com, Amazon, and Best Buy. Facebook says it will also encrypt all video calls, and store all of its AI learning locally on the individual device, not on Facebook's servers.

The Portal and Portal+ go for, United States dollars 199 and 349, respectively. Facebook Live, the company's tool for broadcasting videos live, is not even an option on the Portal.

Nick Fell, marketing director for the Portal team, said, "We set out to try and make video calling so good that it feels like you're sharing the same physical space as someone else." . The portal launch came after barely two weeks Facebook found the bug that enabled a compromise of millions of account, raising more questions if the device is actually hack-free.

Facebook expects to stand apart on the market because of Portal's touchscreen and the 400 million people who call through its Messenger service each month worldwide.

Facebook is billing the device as a way for its more than 2 billion users to chat with one another without having to focus on camera positioning and other controls.

"We've seen a rise of video calling, on both Messenger and WhatsApp - it has been a tremendous trend", he said.

Bad Time For Facebook Portal?

Portal will give users multiple ways to lock and turn off the various aspects of the device. Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio tunes can all be streamed via voice commands, with Amazon's Alexa handling any shouted instructions, musical or otherwise (despite Portal competing with Amazon's Echo range and Amazon's music services not being integrated at launch).



Microsoft just open-sourced 60,000 of its patents
The OIN embraces - as Microsoft has done of late - Linux "as a key element of open source software". Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, The Linux Foundation offers his thoughts below.

Hurricane Michael Ravaged Mexico Beach
More than 80 deaths were linked to that storm, according to The Associated Press - including residents of a nursing home . In an email sent early Thursday, spokesman Eddie Elmore said the road was closed "due to extremely hazardous conditions".

Ace golfer Shubhankar Sharma keen to win the CIMB Classic
Winning the Order of Merit is something I want to achieve by December and playing well here goes a long way to achieve that. I know what to do, I know the golf course, the weather, how far the ball's going to go, the pin positions etc.

Bipartisan group of senators calls for investigation into Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance
Of the crown prince, who is often referred to as "MBS", Corker went on to say, "MBS is a person of the future". Around the time Khashoggi entered the consulate, a second private plane from Riyadh took off for Istanbul.

Why farmers are forcing climate change into the spotlight
Clearly, that deceivingly small half-degree difference has the potential to bring about significantly worse effects. He says right here in the east we can look out our own windows to see the impacts of global warming .

Samsung launches phones with quad, triple cameras
Samsung is offering you a lot more ways to capture photos that one may otherwise be unable to do with regular dual cameras. The Galaxy A9 (2018) release date is set for November, with the full list of markets still to be confirmed.

Flash floods kill at least 10 people in Mallorca
Another resident, Tomas Oliver, cleaned his house as he celebrated that all the damage in his household had been material. World number one tennis star Rafael Nadal , who is from the island, was seen joining in with the clean-up effort.

Trump angry after South Korea signals it may ease North Korea sanctions
Kim committed to work toward "complete" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from the US. The pair discussed ending the reclusive state's nuclear weapons program and hostilities between Washington and Pyongyang.

Hurricane Michael has arrived, and it's stronger than anyone expected
Benson also posted a clip of the storm's winds picking up a portable toilet and sending it flying across a parking lot. Brooks says responding crews reached the home after nightfall due to clear downed power lines, poles and trees.

Global stocks tumble after Trump 'crazy' Fed comment
A stock market correction is defined as a fall of at least 10 per cent from the high point of the last 52 weeks. The criticism is also unusual given that Jerome Powell, the Fed chairman, was appointed by Mr...