Facebook intros new Portal smart hub line powered by Alexa

Facebook wants people to invite its cameras into their homes

Still reeling from a security breach that affected up to 90 million users, Facebook has announced two new pieces of hardware created to make video chat easier and more immersive than ever. When you're not using the 10-inch touch screen for calls, it displays images from Facebook, such as a shared album you choose. Facebook is going up against some stiff competition with its first hardware devices, with Amazon and Google already dominating the USA market for smart speakers and displays.

The $199 Portal and $399 Portal+ are only available for pre-order in the United States and will begin shipping in November. This means two vanilla Portal devices will cost you $298. The device, which will be available for pre-order in the United States, is created to allow users to make video calls at home without having to stand immediately in front of the screen or hold a phone at arm's length. If users don't trust the "off" switch for the camera, there's a small plastic cover they can slide over the lens when it's not in use.

Facebook's Portal looks like it will be great for video chats with other friends on Facebook, but will that be enough?

Portal is also linked with Facebook, and is able to provide birthday reminders, notify you when close friends are available to connect, and display your photos and videos. Portal's camera doesn't use facial recognition and doesn't identify who you are.

Portal also comes with Amazon Alexa built in.

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. You can't browse Facebook or Instagram on it, or even visit the web (you also can't watch video content on it via Youtube). The larger Portal+ has an HD 15.6-inch screen that can swivel between vertical and horizontal views. The devices understand voice commands as well, allowing users to say "Hey Portal" before asking it to call one of their contacts.

On Monday, Facebook unveiled the $200 Portal, the first-ever consumer hardware from the world's largest social network.

Pompeo’s China visit marked by frosty talks and ‘fundamental disagreement’
Trump met with Kim in Singapore in June and - at the time - announced that the two countries are set to " start a new history ". USA officials have thus far said the penalties will remain in place until the North's denuclearization is fully verified.


This uses the Portal's Smart camera feature to transform your face and voice into those of the story's characters, meaning you can still give your kids (or your pets) un-rivaled bedtime tales no matter how far away you are.

Offering hands-free voice control, Portal comes in two sizes, a 10-inch screen which retails at $199 (173 euros) and a 15-inch version will go for $349.

Perhaps more importantly, Facebook has a history of misleading users on what it's doing with their data.

For a while we've been hearing rumours about Facebook developing its own smart devices, specifically smart speakers and smart displays (ala Echo Show).

Facebook has also built technology to ensure that the webcam can track and pan around the room, keeping the caller in-frame without requiring them to sit or stand in one position, or constantly readjust the device. They've taken pains to address the privacy concerns ahead of the curve.

Compared to Amazon Echo Show, the Portal devices seem pretty limited in nature with a strong emphasis being laid on video calling. There are apps for Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio and the Newsy news service.

Related News:

  • FACT CHECK: 'Got Another Friend Request from You' Facebook Warning

    FACT CHECK: 'Got Another Friend Request from You' Facebook Warning

    Facebook shut down Paper, a stand-alone iOS app that was part News Feed, part newsreader, in 2016, two years after its launch. Ignore the message that is going viral in FB Messenger right now.
    Rocket's first stage lands back at launch site

    Rocket's first stage lands back at launch site

    A sonic boom is a sound associated with the shock waves from an aircraft or vehicle traveling faster than the speed of sound. LZ-4 is built on the former site of Space Launch Complex 4W, from which Titan rockets were previously launched.
    Pep Guardiola is the world’s best manager, says Jurgen Klopp

    Pep Guardiola is the world’s best manager, says Jurgen Klopp

    Guardiola admitted after the game that his team were deeper than usual as they controlled Liverpool's rapid forward line expertly. Up and down they ( Liverpool ) are the best team in the world in these transitions, offensive, defensive, it is built for that.
  • Tua Tagovailoa throws four touchdowns in first half

    Tua Tagovailoa throws four touchdowns in first half

    Tagovailoa has thrown one more touchdown pass (18) than Greg McElroy threw in Alabama's entire 2009 national championship season. Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy looked like the fastest player on the field as he caught 4 passes for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns.
    Pakistan Arrests Nawaz Sharif's Brother for Alleged Graft

    Pakistan Arrests Nawaz Sharif's Brother for Alleged Graft

    The PML-N party lost the election on July 25 to the rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led by former cricket hero Imran Khan. However, Islamabad's High Court last month suspended the jail term, and granted bail to the former three-time premier.
    Melania Trump Meets Paramount Chief of Oguaa

    Melania Trump Meets Paramount Chief of Oguaa

    First Lady Melania Trump (L) and the first lady of Malawi Gertrude Maseko walk at the State House in Lilongwe, on October 4. The school is a beneficiary of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) National Reading Program.
  • Jesus not happy Guardiola picked Mahrez to take crucial penalty

    Jesus not happy Guardiola picked Mahrez to take crucial penalty

    Guardiola defended Mahrez, who missed a great chance to win the game when he blasted an 86th minute penalty over the bar. Nevertheless, the second half started with more objective by both the teams and they got many chances to win the game.
    Vettel: Mercedes are downplaying their own vehicle

    Vettel: Mercedes are downplaying their own vehicle

    With damaged tyres, they were anxious Hamilton could lose second place to Vettel, and having Bottas in between them acted as a buffer to protect Hamilton.
    McConnell takes key step toward Kavanaugh vote

    McConnell takes key step toward Kavanaugh vote

    Two crucial Republican Senators - Jeff Flake and Susan Collins - had indicated they were undecided on which way they would vote. But White House spokesman Raj Shah said: "What critics want is a never-ending fishing expedition into high school drinking".
  • Morphed clip of Akshay Kumar speaking against Tanushree Dutta gets removed

    Morphed clip of Akshay Kumar speaking against Tanushree Dutta gets removed

    When Tanushree Dutta levelled serious allegations of sexual misconduct against Nana Patekar , he maintained a stoic silence. Dutta's lawyer Nitin Satpute told ANI that she has been asked to record her statement before the police on 9 October.
    What Saints QB Drew Brees Told His Kids After Breaking Record

    What Saints QB Drew Brees Told His Kids After Breaking Record

    Manning taped a message to Brees, which was shown in the stadium when he broke the record. Congratulations on such a great career that is still going strong for Drew Brees .
    Trump is trusted less than Putin and Xi, global study finds

    Trump is trusted less than Putin and Xi, global study finds

    Meanwhile, in Japan, 30 percent said they trusted Trump, which is 6 percentage points higher than on the previous year's survey. The data, released Monday by the Pew Research Center, shows Trump along with Xi and Putin being viewed mostly with distrust.


Most liked

The Dishonesty of Susan Collins
Collins' claims to be a moderate but that her speech impressed him with its thoroughness and thoughtfulness. Collins, one of the few pro-choice Republicans in the Senate, has asserted that Kavanaugh considers Roe v.

What next for Khabib Nurmagomedov & Conor McGregor after UFC 229 turmoil?
This sparked a brawl inside and outside the octagon, which involved members of Nurmagomedov's team. They were released when McGregor confirmed he didn't want to press charges.

Limo crash kills 20 people in NY
The tragedy in upstate NY is America's worst transportation crash in nearly a decade, according to federal authorities. Federal, state and local investigators flooded the tiny town of Schoharie to try to understand what happened .

Intel reveals '9th gen' Core i5, i7 and i9 performance processors
Similarly, video editing with Adobe Premiere is up to 34 percent and 97 percent faster respectively, as per Intel's own testing. AnandTech has a rundown of all the new Z390 motherboards if you need help selecting the flawless option for your new build.

Ronaldo among first nominees for Ballon d’Or award
England only have one representative on the list in Harry Kane while Gareth Bale is also among the nominees. The last victor outside of the superhuman pair is Kaka, the Brazilian playmaker who won the prize in 2007.

China asked to divulge information on Interpol chief Meng's disappearance
He likely dealt extensively with former security chief Zhou Yongkang, now serving a life sentence for corruption. In addition to his Interpol post , Mr Meng is also a vice minister for public security in China.

Fulham 1 - 5 Arsenal: 5 star performance for Iwobi
Following the game, Keown appears to have criticised Ozil for missing the game and stated that Arsenal did not miss the ex-Germany worldwide .

'First known exomoon may have been discovered'
Dr Kipping and Columbia colleague Alex Teachey say they now have compelling evidence for one - thanks to its large size. The second, much smaller transit could have been caused by a moon that follows or trails after its parent planet.

Manchester City are scared of Liverpool, and so they should be
We don't know in this moment as well if he can train tomorrow, we have to see. So you can understand why people might think they have City's number.

Liverpool show interest in Arsenal 27-year-old player
With his passion, I spoke with him [and said] the most important thing is - when the team need his help - [he] has to be prepared. Emery called on the pre-season signing from Bayer Leverkusen to seize his chance, saying: "I'm very happy with Leno".

The Big Match Tactical View: Liverpool v Manchester City
When somebody's telling me, "Good luck for Sunday", I think always, "Unfortunately, we need it". Liverpool registered three wins over Man City last season.

China Responds to US Provocations in South China Sea
The confrontation between the two navy vessels took place near disputed territories in the remote Spratly Islands. Beijing claims all of the Spratlys and has built a number of military installations on the islands.

Teenager Shaw becomes India's youngest debut century-maker
The youngster was aggressive right from the word go and made sure he latched on to the bad deliveries, which often came his way. Kohli, who started on his overnight score of 72, got to his hundred in his 123rd innings with a boundary off Bishoo.

What you need to know about today's presidential cellphone alert
According to the FEMA website, more than 100 cell phone providers have agreements with FEMA to participate in the alert message. Eastern time Wednesday, Americans across the country were interrupted by an urgent notification on their cellphones.

India's currency falls to all-time low against US dollar
A labourer carries an iron pipe at the construction site of a residential complex on the outskirts of Kolkata, October 5, 2018. The greenback also shot to its highest so far this year on the yen and an all-time high against the Indian rupee.