Facebook is growing its line of smart items for the home. The lineup, which includes the Portal, Portal Mini and Portal TV, are designed to connect families and add WhatsApp calling as Mark Zuckerberg begins to further merge his messaging platforms.
The social media giant confirmed that the new Portal lineup is coming to the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to the U.S. and Canada, of course. There are three new gadgets in the family, Portal, Portal Mini and Portal TV
Portal and Portal Mini
The new, redesigned Portal is an update of last year’s smart display. It has a larger 10-inch HD display for video calls, displaying photos and watching videos in either portrait or landscape. It now also has an adaptive display that adjusts brightness and color to your surroundings in a bid to make video calls, as well as photos, look more natural.
The new Portal Mini is all the more an image casing design. It has an 8-inch HD display. A Super frame feature displays your photographs, videos and birthday reminders when you are not on a call. Both Portal and Portal Mini have a built-in speaker for listening to music and hearing the person on the other end of your call.
Portal TV is a camera and microphone that is designed to bring video-calling to the largest screen in your home. The idea is that it sits on top of or below your television, giving you the freedom to move around the room during calls. Facebook says that you can still be seen and heard, no matter where you are. It uses an AI-powered smart camera that intelligently pans and zooms to stay with the action so you are always in frame. Brilliant sound upgrades the voice of whoever is talking while at the same time limiting undesirable foundation clamor.
The big privacy and security question
Facebook is smart enough to realize that it can’t dispatch items with cameras and mouthpieces intended to live inside our homes without making a major routine about security. You can take this as gospel or with a big pinch of salt, but this is what the company says about its new Portal family:
“Portal has clear and straightforward settings for protection and security. You can disable the camera and amplifier with a solitary tap or a sliding switch. A red light by the lens shows the camera and microphone are off and there’s an incorporated camera cover if you want to physically obstruct the camera lens.”
Facebook additionally said that its Smart Camera and Smart Sound highlights use AI innovation that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers. WhatsApp approaches Portal are start to finish scrambled.
Amazon Alexa is integrated into all of the new Portal hardware. You can also control the smart home devices with your voice by saying “Hey Portal”… although only in English and only in the U.S. and Canada for the time being. Facebook says that more languages are coming.
Portal is currently accessible to pre-request in the U.S., Canada and Europe from portal.facebook.com and select retail locations. Portal and Portal Mini start shipping October 15 and Portal TV starts shipping November 5. The Portal Mini costs $129, the Portal costs $179 and the Portal TV is $149. You can bundle any two Portal devices to save $50.