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Facebook announces AI-powered video calling device "Portal"

Facebook announces AI-powered video calling device

Facebook's Portal and Portal+ smart speakers may turn out to be very useful devices, but the issue that users have with the announcement of Facebook's first gadget is that it arrives after a massive Facebook security breach.

But Chinese companies have been building smart displays for a while, with Baidu and JD.com leading the way - despite the fact that Chinese consumers have shown little appetite for smart speakers yet, according to the China Internet Report 2018. Thanks to AI technology, Portal makes video calling easier and more like hanging out, while a widescreen display lets you enjoy every moment together.

Portal represents Facebook's entry into that fray - but pointing an artificially-intelligent camera into peoples' homes could well raise other privacy questions. With Amazon Alexa built-in Portal, you can check for weather updates, sports scores, control smart home devices, order groceries, and much more.

Facebook Portal features a 10-inch touch-sensitive display at a 1280 x 800 resolution, while the Portal+ has a larger high-definition 15-inch screen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution.

The device, which will be available for pre-order in the United States from Monday, is created to allow users to make video calls at home without having to stand immediately in front of the screen or hold a phone at arm's length.

Facebook has finally amidst all rumors officially launched its Messenger-enabled video chatting devices for the home, Portal and Portal+. In addition to one-on-one calls, up to seven Portals can take part in group chats. Also the Portal cameras don't use facial recognition to identify who you are. Portal can be used to call Facebook friends and connections on Messenger, even if they don't have Portal.

Users can completely disable the camera and microphone with a single tap.

One early review of the device from The Washington Post said Portal had a lot going for it by reducing the awkwardness of video chats. It could signal that Facebook may feel it is too far behind the leaders to try rolling its own assistant out - at least for the time being. If you have seen the Amazon Echo Show before, then you probably have an idea what the smaller Portal looks like.

On Monday, October 8, the company introduced Portal and Portal+, screens created to provide users an immersive and engaging video chat experience without all the distractions. Portal is equipped with a camera that can pan and zoom to places automatically making the video call responsive.

"Our goal is to make you feel present in the same space as the person on the other end", said Rafa Camargo, the Facebook vice president overseeing Portal.

Also, the company stresses that Facebook doesn't listen or view or keep the content of your Portal video calls.

But despite having Amazon as a retail partner and the Alexa integration, its unclear that Amazon Music can be accessed via Alexa on a Portal speaker.


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