Facebook Portal sets up video chat hardware fight with Amazon, Google

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 8
Facebook has launched its own smart device in the form of the Portal -- a pair of smart assistants specifically designed for connectivity through the social media venue.

Facebook Portal


Facebook has rolled out two models of the device, the Portal with a 10-inch 1280x800, and the Portal+ with a 15-inch 1920x1080 pivoting screen. The company claims that the device is "powered by AI" with features designed to "take all of the guesswork out of video calling."

The "Smart Camera" feature will pan and zoom to keep callers in the view of the screen. Background noise is filtered out with the "Smart Sound" algorithms in the device. The camera and microphone can be disabled with a tap, or in the case of the camera with a physical slider.

The video calls are handled through Facebook's Messenger service, allowing for calls to any mobile device with the app installed. Facebook notes that it "doesn't listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls." Additionally, without delving into details, the company says that video calls on the Portal are encrypted.

Content for the device is provided by Facebook Watch, Food Network, Newsy, Spotify Premium, Pandora, and iHeartRadio. Amazon's Alexa can be used on the device, with all that entails including Amazon Prime music streaming. Facebook says that more partners for content will be announced soon.

It does not appear that the device has an unrestricted web browser. Additionally, it uses a locked version of Android, preventing users from installing apps not approved by Facebook.

Both models are available for pre-order now from Amazon, Best Buy and Facebook, with shipments at some point in November. The 10-inch Portal retails for $199, with the 15-inch Portal+ selling for $349. A bundle of two devices gets a $100 discount.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    tedp88tedp88 Posts: 19member
    nope
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 10
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 199member

    What could go wrong?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 10
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,201member
    “With Facebook Portal™, porn watches you.”
    king editor the gratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 10
    Sweet Mother of Gravy. Is this April 1st?
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 10
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,275member
    Big news today, well maybe not so much...

    Google is shutting down Google+ for consumers, will be available only as an enterprise service. Facebook won. 

    (There's also some huge privacy improvements coming regarding Android. Watch for the AI article)
    edited October 8
  • Reply 6 of 10
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,201member
    gatorguy said:
    Big news today, well maybe not so much...

    Google is shutting down Google+ for consumers, will be available only as an enterprise service. Facebook won. 

    (There's also some huge privacy improvements coming regarding Android. Watch for the AI article)
    While trying to soften the bad news, you neglected to mention that Google attempted to cover up a self-inflicted data breach which exposed user data because they were afraid of attracting “regulatory interest”. 

    😱

    You’re welcome. 👍🏾

    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 10
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,891member
    There is no bloody way I'd let any of these things in my home.

    On the other hand, they should replace prison and security guards with these things.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 10
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,275member
    Rayz2016 said:
    gatorguy said:
    Big news today, well maybe not so much...

    Google is shutting down Google+ for consumers, will be available only as an enterprise service. Facebook won. 

    (There's also some huge privacy improvements coming regarding Android. Watch for the AI article)
    While trying to soften the bad news, you neglected to mention that Google attempted to cover up a self-inflicted data breach which exposed user data because they were afraid of attracting “regulatory interest”.
    😱

    You’re welcome. 👍🏾

    I wasn't aware of that until I read the companion article here a few minutes ago. I offered my own take on it too in that thread. You're also welcome. 
  • Reply 9 of 10
    chasmchasm Posts: 838member
    So let me make sure I have this correct: Facebook has (re)invented FaceTime, and it costs more to get it than you would pay for an iPad or iPad mini. It's really just for doing video calls, so it can't really do much of anything else, is limited to Facebook's service only (that part was to be expected, I grant you), and while the content is encrypted (that's nice), the analytics are of course going to FB.

    Also, this sentence: "Content for the device is provided by Facebook Watch, Food Network, Newsy, Spotify Premium, Pandora, and iHeartRadio," seems like you mean it has ads.

    Wow, this is sure to be a hit.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 10
    tting12tting12 Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Wow the price point is kinda steep for something that's mainly for video calls. I'd go for proper smart displays instead, like one of those Google-powered ones. Not to mention Facebook's longstanding privacy issues? Nah, I'm passing on this one.
    watto_cobra
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