Facebook introduced its own gadget for a smart home

Adjust Comment Print

Facebook is all set to launch Portal, a camera that is going to reside in your home so that you can talk and make video calls to people you love the most.

The flagship device - the Portal+ - features a 15.6in (39.6cm) 1080p display that can be rotated on its stand to appear in landscape or portrait mode.

The unique selling point of these devices is that they keep you in the frame as you move about the room using auto-zoom and, for the Portal+, rotation. There is a $50 rebate applicable on both devices as a one-time offer for the initial buyers who place their orders before November 12, which is also when the device will start to ship. Similar to Amazon's Echo Show, the tablet-like system allows users to make video calls over Facebook's Messenger app.

"However, the other aspect of this is that many consumers of this product are more concerned with functionality than privacy and will purchase it regardless of what actions Facebook takes". In a survey conducted in September, more than a quarter of Facebook users interviewed in the United States said they removed their accounts and related apps from their devices to express their dismay over perceived privacy violations.

More news: Trump campaign sought Israeli help in 2016, says NYT

Facebook says Portal does not collect information about people's home, listening only for voice commands. You can get $100 off any two devices.

Recall, Google is preparing a presentation of a miniature smartphone. More specifically, it was the "Alexa built-in" phrase featured prominently on the screen of the Portal devices.

The Portal uses an array of four far-field microphones that records user's conversations and picks up voice commands and a 12MP wide-angle for video calls. It supports group calls of up to seven people at the same time.

"Facebook Portal is an interesting move in that it exclusively focuses on being a communication tool - essentially a video phone - and isn't linked to Facebook or Instagram accounts", Stead said. The artificial intelligence-powered, hands-free, voice-controlled device works with Alexa, the virtual assistant developed by Amazon. Amazon and Google are in the midst of a corporate spat, and Google disallowed Amazon from having YouTube on the device.

More news: Sears may be days away from bankruptcy

The Portal also shares quite some similarity with the Echo Show, or for that matter, any speaker with an integrated display. A handful of animated e-books will also be included for interactive story time. But the tech is also used for a selection of stories, which a parent can read from afar while relevant visual effects appear.

Portal and Portal+ are available now for pre-order in the U.S. - from Facebook, as well as Amazon and Best Buy - and will begin shipping in November. The firm estimated that device makers shipped almost 12 million smart speakers in Q2 2018, about 8 million more than a year ago.

Portal is priced at $199 and Portal+ for $349.

More news: Selena Gomez receiving treatment after suffering emotional breakdown