Just in time for the holidays, Facebook’s new Portal and Portal+ video-calling devices aim to be a game changer in communication by making it easier for friends and family to stay connected, creating a video chat experience that feels less like a call and more like you are actually in the same room having a conversation with the person. Me personally, I am excited for this device. I think it is going to be incredibly useful for on-the-go moms buzzing around the kitchen with little time to stand around a fixed frame. We have already heard news regarding concerns about issues with privacy when using the Portal. These are issues Facebook hopes to address with an option to turn off your camera’s functionality on the device. However, the privacy concerns are more complicated then that and this is an issue I have decided to save for another day. Today, I’d like to discuss the features and specific functionality of the Portal and the Portal+ devices.
It’s all about the features of the Facebook Portal and Portal+ that make the devices stand out from, well, really anything that has came before. It could be compared to an ipad pro on steroids or a more reliable Echo Show from Amazon, yet the AI capabilities of these devices is so much more sophisticated the ipad pro or the Echo Show.
The Portal’s Smart Camera automatically zooms, pans and focuses to insure everyone within the chat are in view. The Smart Sound focuses in the audio towards the voice of whoever is talking, regardless of where they move. That’s some pretty sophisticated AI, if I don’t say so myself.
A group of up to seven people can make a group call within the Portal Group Calls application. I really don’t see a reason why you would need more then seven people, unless you are using Portal for a massive business call or for Thanksgiving Day.
Facebook has partnered with Amazon Alexa to offer hands-free voice calls. By saying “Hey Portal” and stating who you’d like to call, Portal’s built-in Amazon Alexa built-in responds as well as offering abilities to ask a questions, set a timer, add items to your shopping list, control your smart home, and more.
With the Portal and the Portal+, both models are designed to make video chats feel less like a call and more like you’re actually in the same room. The difference between the two are the size of the screen and pixel size. The Portal improves video calling with a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display. And the Portal+ claims to create more flexibility, with it’s 15-inch 1920 x 1080 pivoting display.
Facebook announced that they have partnered with multiple major players in the online sphere including Spotify Premium, Pandora, and iHeartRadio. Facebook also will intersect their Portal devices with Facebook Watch
Experience shared activities like listening to music together or watching some of your favorite shows. We’ve partnered with , as well as their VOD services Facebook Watch, and major networks and media outlets, Food Network, and Newsy with a partnership with CNN looking to take place in the near future.
Both the Portal and the Portal+ devices can be purchased online from Facebook directly at portal.facebook.com as well as on Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. You can also purchase the devices in store at Best Buy and Amazon Books locations. The price for the Portal is $199 USD and the price for the Portal* for $349 USD