Probably the average Facebook user wasn’t hoping that the world’s largest social networking company would introduce a new video chat device which could be installed in the home. Nonetheless, Facebook has done so anyway, introducing three new products its Portal brand of video chat devices which include a new Portal, Portal Mini and Portal TV.
The Portal TV looks like a thinner version of a TV soundbar. It’s an accessory which can be placed on or below your TV and enables video calling to what’s usually the biggest screen in the home.
Mini and the redesigned Portal video chat products include picture frame designs, with the Portal Mini sporting an 8-inch HD display and the Portal having a 10-inch HD display. You can use them for video calls, displaying photos and watching videos, either in portrait or landscape mode. The built-in speaker is another feature, which comes with both of those devices and supports playing music when not on video calls and they also come with an adaptive display which adjusts the brightness and color to their surroundings so that photos and videos appear more natural.
The new Portal array is coming to the US and Canada along with the UK, France, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and Spain. Pre-orders have started for US citizens from portal.facebook.com and exclusive retail locations, and shipping for both the Portal and Portal, start on October 15. You also get a $50-off discount by bundling any two Portal devices.
Now Portal supports video calling friends via WhatsApp, as well as Messenger. The devices can also be used like a TV to enjoy Facebook Watch programs such as Red Table Talk and other shows. Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant is integrated with the devices to offer hands-free control. Portal supports Amazon’s Prime Video app. Talking about privacy, the company also made new announcements today in an official blog post.
“Portal has clear and simple settings for privacy and security. You can disable the camera and microphone with a single tap or a sliding switch. A red light next to the lens indicates the camera and microphone are off and there’s an integrated camera cover if you want to physically block the camera lens. For added security, Smart Camera and Smart Sound use AI technology that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers.”