There have been rumors that Facebook was working on smart speaker devices with touchscreens for quite some time, and on Monday the company finally made those rumors true.
The Portal and Portal+ are new video calling devices which feature built-in speakers and large touchscreens. The Portal features a 10.1-inch display along with 10W speakers. 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. Both devices support “Hey Portal” for voice control options.
Facebook is also including features like Smart Call and Smart Sound. With the first, Portal users can expect the built-in camera to automatically zoom and pan to make sure that everyone is in the shot. The Smart Sound feature will reduce the background noise while enhancing the voice of the person that’s talking.
The Portal and Portal+ feature Spotify and Pandora integration, and the devices are obviously built to use Facebook’s services. That means you can easily start a video call within Facebook Messenger, or you can watch the various content on Facebook’s own video streaming service, Facebook Watch.
Finally, security. Facebook included a camera cover for both video calling devices so it can be hidden while not being used. There is also a one-touch option to completely disable the camera and mute the microphone. The Portal devices also support a passcode, which can be between four to 12 characters to help secure the device.
Facebook also says that the AI features Smart Camera and Smart Sound work locally, and therefore do not send any data back to the social network. Facebook also says the new devices don’t “listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls”, encrypting all video calls as they happen on the device. There are no facial recognition features built into the video calling devices, either.
Both devices go up for preorder today from Facebook and Amazon, and will begin shipping in November. The Facebook Portal costs $199 and the Portal+ retails for $349. If you preorder, though, you can save $100 when buying two Portal devices at once.
Do you plan on picking up a new Portal?