Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Trust-challenged Facebook stresses privacy in launch of Portal video communication device

Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices Facebook launches Portal and Portal+ video call devices
Cecil Davis | 12 October, 2018, 05:08

Portal also supports music and video services, such as Facebook Watch, Food Network, Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Newsy and more are said to be on the way.

Facebook unveiled Portal, which comes with a 10-inch 1,280 x 800 touchscreen, as a smart speaker that is focused on enabling video calling among friends and family. While Portal+ has a 15-inch 1920 x 1080 pivoting display.

The two Portal devices' cameras use artificial intelligence software to follow the user as they move around.

Beyond chat, Facebook has built third-party experiences into Portal.

Portal is voice control enabled, but it only sends voice commands to the Facebook servers after you say "Hey Portal".

Amazon's Alexa voice assistant is preloaded on the devices, which have a camera to detect how many people are in a room and automatically zoom in or out to fit everyone on the screen.

Portal has hands-free voice control which can start a video call by saying "Hey Portal" along with the name of the person you'd like to call. Those Instagram and Snapchat face filters will also come to the big screen here via Facebook's Spark AR platform, so you can chat with people while sporting a cartoon face, if you prefer. Finally, you can set a four to 12-digit code to lock Portal until you want to use it again. "Changing the passcode requires your Facebook password", the statement said. You can get $100 off any two devices.

Nokia 3.1 Plus first impressions: Killing the competition
I will talk more about this display in my full review as I didn't get a chance to take the phone to direct sunlight. Instead, Nokia has opted for a more traditional 18:9, 6-inch panel complete with reduced bezels above and below.

In order to eliminate concerns, the tech giant said that it put privacy and security in mind while designing the new devices, through an option that lets the user completely disable the camera and microphone with a single tap. You can delete your Portal's voice history in your Facebook Activity Log at any time.

Facebook's foray into hardware More than the fact that the company is going up against Amazon and Google, it's interesting to note that it's the first attempt it's made at constructing its own hardware.

It uses Amazon's Alexa voice commands, as well as its always-listening functionality.

The Portal also shares quite some similarity with the Echo Show, or for that matter, any speaker with an integrated display. While voice-enabled smart displays like the Portal are in a budding product category, ownership of smart speakers like the Amazon Echo or Google Home will rise to 48% of USA consumers after this holiday season from 32% in August, Adobe Analytics forecast.

The new devices allow calling Facebook friends and connections on Messenger even if they don't have Portal.

Portal connects calls through Facebook's Messenger app, which means that it can connect calls with people who aren't using Portal. In a survey conducted in September, more than a quarter of Facebook users interviewed in the United States said they removed their accounts and related apps from their devices to express their dismay over perceived privacy violations.