Wednesday, 17 October, 2018


Facebook launches AI video-calling device Portal

Facebook's new Portal device Save Save Facebook's Portal camera device
Melba Vasquez | 09 October, 2018, 11:10

Facebook describes these machines as ideal for video chatting on Facebook Messenger. The Portal includes a 10-inch screen with a 1280 x 800 display, while the Portal+ comes with a 15-inch 1920 x 1080 pivoting display.

The Portal is a sleek new video camera and screen that makes chats with family and friends look great.

Facebook has announced Portal, a series of devices that let you do voice or video calls to other Facebook and Messenger users.

It got delayed after Facebook found itself in the privacy scandal earlier this year, but finally Facebook's smart video calling device is here.

Facebook is launching the first electronic device to bear its brand, a screen and camera-equipped gadget meant to make video calls easier and more intuitive. 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.

Your friends don't need to own a Portal to receive your calls; as long as they have Facebook Messenger on their smartphone or tablet, you're good to go, with up to seven different people on one call.

Facebook on Monday unveiled the Portal and Portal+, directly challenging Amazon, Google and Apple in the fast-growing smart-speaker market with a unique approach that will emphasize video calling.To start a video call, users can say "Hey Portal, call." followed by the name of a connection on Facebook's Messenger service.

Facebook says it won't "listen to, view or keep the contents " of video calls, adding that the Portal camera won't use facial recognition or identify people in the video calls. "Interestingly, Facebook has included Amazon Alexa software in their device, allowing users to ask questions such as" What's the weather?" or "How are my teams doing?" Facebook also says it won't store any of the video sent through the camera on the computers in its data centers. Facebook is one of the most untrusted companies when it comes to protecting or even being ethical with its user's data (it practically pioneered the quote "if you're not paying for it, you're the product").

The smaller Portal is priced at $$199 (or around $0 AUD) while the larger Portal+ is priced at $$349 (or around $0 AUD).

Both the Portal and Portal+ are available to pre-order today, though as I said they're restricted to the U.S. for the time being. Why?

Will Facebook's Portal and Portal+ be available in the UAE?

It is similar to Smart Display devices from Google and the Echo Show from Amazon, which are also smart speakers with screens to display information or facilitate video calls. This marks Facebook's first physical product aside from the Oculus virtual reality headset which Facebook acquired in 2014. Facebook has partnered with Spotify Premium, Pandora, and iHeartRadio, as well as Facebook Watch, Food Network and Newsy with mode on the way. The Facebook app has been known to collect an ungodly amount of data from people's phones, including call history and SMS data on Android. Camargo told Cheddar that the devices' success will be measured internally by how much "engagement" they create with Facebook's video calling and other services.

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