Much of the coverage around the launch of Facebook's Portal devices likens them to the smart speakers that other companies have launched. The company reportedly made a decision to postpone after the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light.
The Hub is being offered at a relatively bargain price of $149, compared to $199 for the new Facebook Portal, a video screen announced Monday, and $229 for Amazon's redesigned Echo Show. To mitigate these concerns, Facebook reassured users that it state-of-the-art privacy controls- including the ability to disable the camera and microphone with a single tap, password access, and (not even kidding), "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".
The tablet-sized Portal has a 10.1-inch 1200 x 800 display, a built-in 10-watt speaker, and a 12 MP camera. Thanks to an Alexa integration, the Portal devices can also do any of the other things that competing smart speakers can do, such as control smart home devices.
The Portal, which is equipped with a 10-inch 1280x800 display, can let users video chat with their families and friends over Facebook Messenger, while the Portal + has a 15-inch 1920x1080 pivoting display.
The Portals are available for pre-order now from Facebook, Amazon, and Best Buy, and shipping will commence in November.
If there's more than one person in the room, Portal Smart Camera will automatically zoom out and re-crop to fit everyone in the frame. The company also revealed that you can make group calls with up to seven people with Portal. Also the Portal cameras don't use facial recognition to identify who you are.
While the device is said to be a way of streamlining and improving the many video calls taking place on the Facebook Messenger platform, there are some people who believe its release is somewhat ill-timed. The portal launch came after barely two weeks Facebook found the bug that enabled a compromise of millions of account, raising more questions if the device is actually hack-free.
Their fears were compounded when Facebook revealed another security breach in late September, when hackers were able to enter its computer network, exposing the personal information of almost 50 million users.
Additionally, "Facebook doesn't listen to, view or keep the contents of your Portal video calls".
Managing Facebook Portal And Portal+. Rival smart speakers with screens lack a video-chatting app that is as popular.
Facebook said the new device was "built with privacy and security in mind".