Facebook is moving into the smart device market, with the help of Amazon’s Alexa. The social media giant is releasing the Portal and Portal+, hands-free video calling smart speaker devices.
HOW THEY WORK
The Portal video displays are hands-free smart speakers inbuilt with a special camera and microphones. The devices are enabled by Alexa, which Amazon smart device users will be familiar with.
As some may expect, a Facebook account is required to use the Portal and Portal+.
In a statement, Facebook said that the Portals “are designed to make you feel closer to the important people in your life, and make video chats seem less like a call and more like you’re actually in the same room.”
The Portal’s list of partners includes Spotify, iHeartRadio, Food Network, Newsy, Pandora and of course, Alexa and Facebook Watch, meaning users can use the display for entertainment and music as well as a means for video calling.
FACEBOOK’S MOST UNSETTLING INVENTION?
If you ever get the sensation of being watched or followed when home alone, this device might not be the right smart display for you.
When using the Portal in video calls, the camera moves to follow speakers around the room and adjusts its level of zoom to ensure new speakers who join the conversation are also included in the frame. Some have questioned whether or not a device that follows users around the room using its Smart Camera is convenient or eerie.
PORTAL vs PORTAL+
Both the Portal and Portal+ come in black or white and have the same Smart Camera and Smart Sound capabilities. The primary difference between the two Facebook devices lays in their measurements. The Portal boasts a 10-inch 1200 x 800 display, whereas the Portal+ has a 15-inch 1920 x 1080 pivoting display.