Tech

Facebook’s Alexa-powered smart display is called Portal, and it’s enormous

Facebook’s Alexa-powered smart display is called Portal, and it’s enormous

Facebook also says the new devices don't "listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls", encrypting all video calls as they happen on the device. Dave Kaufman, the marketing lead for Facebook's Portal division, commented on the device stating: "Portal+ and Portal really live up to that idea of helping you feel closer and allowing you to spend more quality time with people, even if they live thousands of miles away from you".

For more robust voice-activated assistance, Portal also has Amazon Alexa built in, so you can ask your new video calling device for weather updates, news, and more, just like the Amazon Echo. When you're not using the 10-inch touch screen for calls, it displays images from Facebook, such as a shared album you choose. The first is simply called Portal and features a 10-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 800.

Both devices are available for preorder online in the USA through Facebook ($FB), Amazon ($AMZN), and Best Buy ($BBY). They will go on sale from November. It also shows that when it comes to using its services to collect data, Facebook's policy is "if we can't have it, no one can". And best of all, there's a camera cover provided that lets you completely block out the camera of the devices with a physical cover if you still don't trust Facebook - and frankly, I wouldn't blame you. Portal will also have an advantage over Amazon and Google's smarthome devices, being able to call any smartphone that has Facebook Messenger installed. Well now we finally get to see them for ourselves, properly, because the company just announced tow Alexa-enabled smart displays: the Portal and Portal+. Story Time brings stories to life with custom sound effects and visuals.

The social media giant's new "video communication" devices are called the Portal and Portal+, and feature widescreen displays, hands-free voice control and AI-powered cameras and sound. The bigger Portal+ sports a huge 15.6-inch Full HD display, which you can also rotate between portrait and landscape.

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In In an 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. Portal's camera doesn't use facial recognition and doesn't identify who you are.

"The first thing consumers are going to wonder is 'how much sensitive data is this collecting about me?'" said John Breyault, vice president of public policy of telecommunications and fraud at the National Consumers League, a Washington-based consumer advocacy group that has received donations from Facebook and other tech companies. Both devices support "Hey Portal" for voice control options.

But the Portal, reportedly delayed from an earlier launch by the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, will pay an extra price for Facebook's years of playing fast and loose with our privacy.

Users will have access to services such as Spotify Premium, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Facebook Watch, Food Network, and Newsy at launch, with more services being added later.


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