Facebook launches new video calling device; will it work in UAE?

Facebook wants people to invite its cameras into their homes

Facebook wants people to invite its cameras into their homes

Facebook has revealed its new Portal and Portal+ smart speakers, with Alexa built-in.

With a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display, the Portal is part of Facebook's mission to improve video calling by making it "completely hands and distraction free". So, it's introduced Facebook Portal and Portal+, two versions of a video communication device created to make it easier for you connect with friends and family. Facebook is going up against some stiff competition with its first hardware devices, with Amazon and Google already dominating the U.S. market for smart speakers and displays.

First going on sale in the United States in November, Portal will come with a 10in display for video calls, or a 15in display on the Portal+.

Portal and Portal Plus make it easy to keep in touch with friends and family when you can't see them face-to-face in real life. Thanks to Alexa from Amazon, you can initiate video calls simply by using your voice, plus a suite of AI tech makes your experience more rich. One of the top features of the Portal and Portal+ is their smart camera - or may be some will find it creepy - that will follow people around in a room while they are on a video call.

Facebook won't make a profit from selling Portal or Portal+ at their current price points, according to a person familiar with the business. Both devices also have a camera cover for when they're not in use, which won't block incoming calls or notifications. "Portal's camera doesn't use facial recognition and doesn't identify who you are", it adds. Facebook built the device using Amazon's Alexa to help respond to queries from consumers, because the social network does not have its own such virtual assistant. Finally, the Portal devices will support additional apps, including Spotify Premium, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Food Network, Newsy, as well as Facebook Watch. Fast-forward to this Monday, and after the reported delay, Facebook has quietly unveiled the Portal video-chat and smart speaker platform. The larger Portal+ has an HD 15.6-inch screen that can swivel between vertical and horizontal views.

The company says Facebook's privacy policy applies to Portal, since it uses Messenger for voice and video calls.

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Facebook is a software company famous for pushing out products quickly and adjusting later depending on the level of uproar. You can delete your Portal's voice history in your Facebook Activity Log at any time. In addition, video calls on Portal are encrypted.

Facebook says it won't store Portal video on its data centers.

Not a lot of us trust Facebook.

If you put it all together and just look at the features, it can easily compete with any other smart display on the market.

Facebook will offer Portal in two sizes - a $199 model with a 10-inch horizontal screen and a $349 "Plus" version with a 15.6-inch screen that can switch between vertical or horizontal orientations. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 74 percent of Facebook members in the USA have in the a year ago taken a break, deleted the app from their phone or adjusted their privacy settings.

The Portal Plus device can also swivel into vertical orientation, similar to how people are used to viewing and video-calling through their phones.

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