Facebook Launches Portal Smart Display

Facebook could put a camera in your home with video calling Portal device

Facebook introduces Portal and Portal+ with prices starting at $199

Here's our newest gadget!

Already up for pre-order starting at $199, Portal has a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display.

Facebook, whose founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was recently questioned by Congress about the company's privacy practices, clearly anticipated scepticism about it selling an AI device that can see and hear in your home and as such insists that it won't "listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls".

Portal also has Alexa built-in, so you can use it just like an Echo, including controlling your compatible smart home accessories with it.

And since Messenger can be used without a Facebook account, Portal users won't need a Facebook account to use it - only Messenger.

The social-networking giant on Monday unveiled a new line of voice-activated home speakers with screens that enable video chats with friends and family - but critics said they sound more like Big Brother listening devices.

Called Portal and Portal+, the two devices are geared towards video calling and feature A.I. technology that can automatically follow a person as they move throughout a room and remove unwanted background noise during a call.

It's not year clear when Facebook will be launching the devices in markets outside the USA, or how much they'll cost, but we've reached out to Facebook and we'll update this story as soon as we know more.

No, your Facebook account hasn't been cloned
Facebook said in a statement, 'We've heard that some people are seeing posts or messages about accounts being cloned on Facebook. Then it tells you to "hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears...then hit forward...." They're a hoax.

Portal and Portal+ also come with a camera cover, so you can easily block your camera's lens at any time and still receive incoming calls and notifications, plus use voice commands. Both also come with Alexa, Amazon's smart assistant, integrated in them, and both will respond to "Hey portal" command. Facebook will even give you a cover for the camera.

All of the video chatting features you would find on Facebook are there, including group chat with multiple people, stickers, and effects. Meanwhile, the larger Portal+ boasts a 15.6-inch Full HD display, and it's coupled with 20W speakers and a four-inch bass woofer.

The real head-scratching thing about the Portal is that while you'll be able to use it to browse your Facebook photos and videos and check the weather, Facebook's laser focus on video calling means you won't be able to view other tenets of the core Facebook experience such as the News Feed using the Portal.

If you're a company reeling from a data leak affecting 50 million users - not to mention the Cambridge Analytica scandal - what do you do next? It's worth noting that you can't browse Facebook, the social network, on the Portal. You can start a video call by saying "Hey Portal" and then say who you'd like to call.

Facebook Portal comes in two display sizes: Portal, which is 10 inches, and Portal Plus, which is a whopping 15 inches.

Facebook has launched its very first piece of hardware you can buy, if you disregard its Oculus-branded headsets and the ill-fated HTC First.

Portal's camera, which uses a form of artificial intelligence to recognize body shapes, is a major marketing point, offering users the convenience of staying in the frame without having to adjust the device. The Facebook app has been known to collect an ungodly amount of data from people's phones, including call history and SMS data on Android. By purposefully excluding many features, the Portal becomes purely a music-playing and video-chatting device.

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