Facebook Enters The Smart Speaker Space With New Devices

Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices

Facebook launches Portal and Portal+ video call devices

The device is similar to Amazon's Echo Show and even has the option to use that company's digital assistant, Alexa.

Facebook has launched a couple of new smart devices which enable AI-powered video calling in your home.

On Tuesday, Google introduced Google Home Hub, an update to its popular Google Home speaker, a new device with a video screen that's all about Google.

The Portal has a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display and Portal+ has a 15-inch 1920 x 1080 display.

Portal and Portal+ are now available for pre-order for $199 and $349 respectively, with shipping scheduled for November.

Like Alexa, you can delete the Portal's voice history via the Facebook Activity Log.

Since Facebook knows when you're home thanks to your phone location, Portal will ring instead of your phone when you're nearby, but it does also stream video and music from apps like Spotify, so... The Amazon Silk browser offers access to Google's YouTube, which was removed from the original Show, due to a corporate spat between Amazon and Google. And intelligent enough, the wide angle will be used to fit in multiple people, while zoom in focus will be used for one user.

More recently, Facebook said that hackers managed to pierce its security to break into 50 million accounts. As well, the smart camera's AI runs locally, not on Facebook servers, and the camera doesn't use facial recognition.

"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 devices incorporate a simple voice control system for calls, enabling users to start a video call by saying "Hey Portal, call Randy". The company has made technology tweaks to the Portal devices to guard people's privacy. The microphone and camera can be fully disabled with just one tap, and each device comes with a camera cover for added security.

Bad Time For Facebook Portal?

While many users are skeptical about the new device, many aspiring artists, musicians, and entertainers stated that they believe the camera could have value and allow them to perform hands-free for their Facebook live audiences.

Calls can also be routed to the Messenger app on other kinds of devices although some functionality is lost.

Facebook representatives prefer to talk about their "mission" rather than business models and profits, but wireless speakers and video calls are a growing market.

The video chat speakers come with Smart Camera and Smart Sound technology. Facebook doesn't listen to, view or keep the details of your Portal video calls like other voice-aided devices, Portal listens for the wake phrase ("Hey Portal") and, once detected, routine your voice command.

It should be noted that the company actually delayed the release of Facebook Portal until after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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