Hi-Tech

Facebook Unveils 'Portal' Video Chat Device for the Home

Facebook Unveils 'Portal' Video Chat Device for the Home

Facebook wants its users to buy a new video chat device for their homes, complete with cameras that track movement.

Created to rival the Amazon Echo Show, the Portal will retail for $199 (around £150 / AU$280), whereas the larger model, the Portal+, will cost $349 (£270 / AU$495), with Facebook's current deal of $100 off any two devices meaning you can get both for $298 if you're a USA customer. The device itself is powered by Amazon's Alexa, and although Facebook was originally believed to be building its own personal assistant for the smart displays, using Amazon's Echo probably seemed like a much better idea and solution.

The cheaper Portal has a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 display that's fixed in landscape mode, while the Portal+ has a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 screen that can pivot between portrait and landscape modes. The Portal+ uses a 1080P display that measures 15.6 inches diagonally.

Both devices are available for preorder online in the United States through Facebook ($FB), Amazon ($AMZN), and Best Buy ($BBY). Those commands could eventually be used to better inform Facebook's ad business. You can also choose to fill the screen with info from your closest Facebook friends, including - you guessed it - birthday reminders. The cameras and the microphones in these two devices can be disabled with a switch.

A smart speaker device by Facebook Inc. called Portal is shown in this photo released by Facebook Inc. from Menlo Park, California, U.S., October 5, 2018.

For now, the Portal and the Portal+ will be available only in the US. Its primary goal is to make video calls - the thing any smartphone, tablet, or computer can do - but Amazon Alexa is built-in so it can be your assistant, too. Story Time brings stories to life with custom sound effects and visuals.




The device, known as Portal, comes in $199 and $349 versions and its signature feature is a wide-angle camera that automatically keeps users in focus as they move about a room, Facebook hardware executives told Reuters in a meeting last week.

Facebook is hoping Portal and Portal Plus will be on people's holiday gift-giving lists.

In a possibly vain attempt to reassure users over the firm's record around user privacy, Facebook said the device comes with a camera lens cover and the ability to disable both the camera and the microphone with a single tap. 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.

They are only available for pre-order in the USA at present, priced at $199 (around £152) and $349 respectively.

Portal's camera, which uses a form of artificial intelligence to recognise body shapes, is a major marketing point, offering users the convenience of staying in the frame without having to adjust the device. "Portal's camera doesn't use facial recognition and doesn't identify who you are", it adds. People can delete their Portal voice history in their Facebook Activity Log at any time.

Portal only sends voice commands to Facebook servers after a user says: "Hey Portal", just like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.


  • Google to overhaul privacy rules after discovering exposure of user data

    Google to overhaul privacy rules after discovering exposure of user data

    Google also introduced a "+1" button for third-party content, which acted in a similar way to Facebook's "Like" button. The consumer Gmail API , meanwhile, will be subject to tougher new rules, and limits around what can be connected.
    Hamilton fastest in second practice at Japanese Grand Prix

    Hamilton fastest in second practice at Japanese Grand Prix

    The 5.8-km Suzuka circuit's unique figure-of-eight layout with its fast, undulating sweeps is a firm favourite with the drivers . It is a position the German team have enjoyed for most of the season yet once again they are taking nothing for granted.
    Mike Pompeo’s visit to China kicks off with frosty exchange

    Mike Pompeo’s visit to China kicks off with frosty exchange

    The US has said that it will not make such concessions unless the North takes substantive steps to do away with nuclear weapons. In an interview with the Washington Post , she said the North could agree to dismantle Yongbyon, its signature nuclear site.
  • Senate set to vote on Kavanaugh confirmation Saturday

    Senate set to vote on Kavanaugh confirmation Saturday

    A fuming Kavanaugh strode into the same packed hearing room and said he was "100 percent" certain the incident had not occurred. As the lone Republican to vote against cloture, it would be very unusual for her to then vote for his confirmation.
    Microsoft Announces Game Streaming, Testing To Begin Next Year

    Microsoft Announces Game Streaming, Testing To Begin Next Year

    Not only that, the streamed games are meant to be at PC and console-level fidelity and speed. Today, Microsoft also revealed that they would be entering the fray with Project xCloud.
    Green Bay Packers: 3 Big takeaways from loss vs

    Green Bay Packers: 3 Big takeaways from loss vs

    The offense might have more troubles than the defense if we are comparing them to their expectations coming into the season. McCarthy also said "there's hope" that wide receiver Geronimo Allison will take the field Sunday.
  • Strange Light in Sky Is A Rocket Launch

    Strange Light in Sky Is A Rocket Launch

    The rocket lifted off at about 7:21 p.m. local time, and landed about 12 minutes later after delivering its package to orbit. Since landing its first booster back on Earth in 2015, SpaceX has fine-tuned the inspection and refurbishment process.
    Tim Tebow Rips

    Tim Tebow Rips "Entitled" Alabama Fans for Not Supporting Crimson Tide

    The Coaches Poll had an identical top five with Alabama receiving 61 of 64 first-place votes to take the top spot. Arkansas Coach Chad Morris said he's not anxious about his players' mindset.
    Manhunt underway after West Bank shooting

    Manhunt underway after West Bank shooting

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said troops would soon apprehend the "despicable murderer" and "bring him to justice". Palestinian militant groups praised the attack, calling it revenge for Israeli "crimes" towards the Palestinians.
  • Bulgarian TV journalist murdered in EU's third killing in a year

    Bulgarian TV journalist murdered in EU's third killing in a year

    Transparency International, a global corruption watchdog, has identified Bulgaria as the most corrupt member state in the EU. Stoyanov and Biro had been looking into alleged fraud involving European Union funds by the infrastructure company GP Group.
    Alisson, Firmino, Mane and Salah nominated for 2018 Ballon d'Or

    Alisson, Firmino, Mane and Salah nominated for 2018 Ballon d'Or

    For the first time, a Ballon d'Or for women players will be awarded this year, with the nominees to be announced later Monday. Working their way through alphabetically, Real Madrid stars Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema have been confirmed on the list.
    #BollywoodMeToo: Kangana accuses

    #BollywoodMeToo: Kangana accuses "Queen" director of sexual harrassment

    Corroborating the story is also taking a stand. "I love the fact that she has spunk and she says what she believes". But I supported her at that time as well. "I could tell something is wrong with him", Kangana told India Today .