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Facebook Unveils The Portal; Its 10 and 15.6 Inches Video Chat Device, Integrates With Alexa

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The Portal is a smooth new camcorder like device which has a screen that makes chats with family and friends look incredible.

On Monday, Facebook launched the $200 Portal, the first customer gadget from social media giant. The bread toaster size video camera, alongside a bigger $350 version called Portal+, is a blend of a video camera and smart speaker.

The device looks very much like the Amazon Echo Show and does just about what Facebook is trying to achieve with its Portal. That said, the new Portal uses the Amazon Alexa voice command and other artificial intelligence services like answering questions and playing a specific music for you from your playlist.

The unique thing about Facebook’s gadget is the tech it uses to make the video calls look great. Consider it an individual cinematographer: A 12-megapixel camera — equal to most telephones — distinguishes the state of individuals inside its 140-degree field of view and dish and zooms to ensure they’re all dependably in the frame. You can meander around the room, do tasks, and play with the children.

The Portal additionally has a couple of interesting tricks like sharing music over a chat for a party far away from your location. There’s the augmented reality (AR) feature that lets you add masks to chats which means you can add funny glasses to your face among other funny stuff. If you want to use Portal to read to your children from remotely, there’s the AR storybook mode which lets you add some effects that make children happy. 

The Portal brings in Facebook features like photos. When Portal is idle, it shows pictures from Facebook, for example, a common photo collection you pick. This s more like a screensaver feature and yes you set some data from your friends as the “screensaver”.

With respect to which of the devices you should get, you should know that both the 15.6 and 10 inches do basically the same thing with the only difference being that the 15.6 inch Portal+ can switch between vertical and horizontal views.

The Portal is basically a hardware device that lets you use your Facebook video chat feature on a bigger screen at home with embedded artificial intelligence and augmented reality features.

You can’t watch YouTube at the moment on it making it a bit more limited that its counterparts. But you bet that it comes with Facebook Watch for Facebook videos. For music, you can sync your Spotify and Pandora accounts to stream music on it.

Great device but Facebook has a big work to do convincing people to buy its device because of privacy concerns.

Facebook says it designed the Portal with privacy in mind. Facebook says it and your companions can’t just look into your home whenever they like. Video chats must be accepted by you before the camera even comes on in the first place.

The Portal additionally has a catch on the best that cuts its microphone and camera. Furthermore, there’s a plastic security shield you can keep over the camera just in case you’re not comfortable even after turning off the camera and mic. 

Read more: Here’s Why There’s A Tape Covering Mark Zuckerberg’s PC Camera And Microphone

An extra plastic security covers the camera and mic

All video chats on the Portal are encrypted, which means Facebook can’t hear or see what you’re discussing or all’s identity in the room. But it’s different when you use Amazon’s AI Alexa services in that Amazon keeps audio recordings of all queries you make to Alexa through the Portal, yet Facebook does not.

Facebook also promises that there will be no ads even though this may change at anytime.

The Portal is available for preorder online and should be in stores in November.

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