Created to rival the Amazon Echo Show, the Portal will retail for $199 (around £150 / AU$280), whereas the larger model, the Portal+, will cost $349 (£270 / AU$495), with Facebook's current deal of $100 off any two devices meaning you can get both for $298 if you're a United States customer.
Facebook's release of Portal comes at a time when the social network is under intense scrutiny around the world. The larger Portal+ also includes 2 tweeters for the speaker, so the sound output will sound much better on the larger Portal+ than the regular Portal. Portal and Portal+ are 10- and 15-inch smart displays complete with integrated cameras and packed with AI. However, the Portal devices also feature Alexa integration so one can use Amazon's voice assistant for checking the weather, controlling their smart home devices, and more.
Facebook doesn't listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls.
We've reached out to Facebook to find out about global availability and will update with any new information. The speaker sits at the bottom of the display, while a camera, more noticeable than that on the regular Portal, sits at the top. Facebook will also give you $100 (£77) off if you buy two in one go. These new widescreen displays are created to help you feel as though the two of you are in the same room. They feature cameras that cleverly identify people and move to ensure they are always in frame during a call. Thanks to Alexa from Amazon, you can initiate video calls simply by using your voice, plus a suite of AI tech makes your experience more rich. You'll also be able to delete your Portal or Portal+ device's voice history using your Facebook Activity log.
Portal and Portal+ are available now for pre-order in the U.S. and will begin shipping in November.
Scrutiny this year over Facebook's privacy and content moderation practices have led some people to abandon the service and the company to warn of thinning profits. For its first in-house gadgets, Facebook had to anticipate potential issues during the building process, through focus groups and user testing. It also doesn't have the best track record when it comes to keeping users' data safe.
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"Both models are created to help you feel closer to the important people in your life and make video chats feel less like a call, and more like you're actually in the same room", Facebook said in a blog post.
Calls will be encrypted, and the AI technology runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers.
According to Facebook you can either disable the camera and microphone with a single touch, or disable the camera with a built-in cover, while still allowing you to take incoming calls and notifications and use voice commands. The smaller Portal is more modest in terms of sound quality, but both devices feature voice-enhancing 4-mic arrays with 360-degree pickup.
Amazon and Google have a new smart display competitor to contend with.
After lengthy rumours Facebook has finally announced Portal, their answer to the Amazon Echo Show.
Portal represents Facebook's first serious foray into selling consumer hardware outside of its virtual reality brand Oculus, which it acquired for $2 billion in 2014.