What marketers are saying about Facebook’s new Portal video chat devices

Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices

Social media giant Facebook made an aggressive foray into the hardware industry by launching a smart speaker with a screen and a camera, specially created to ease video calls. "You can delete your Portal's voice history in your Facebook Activity Log at any time", the company says, explaining that the rest of Portal's tech is locally run from the device itself.

Portal, however, is cheaper, costing only US$199 each, while the new Echo Show, which has a 10.1-inch screen and a speaker at the bottom of the device, costs US$229.

Facebook on Monday launched two in-home video chat devices, moving the company beyond its social network and into the increasingly competitive market for voice-activated, internet-connected speakers.

The device is known by the name of "Portal" and Facebook is trying to advertising it as a way for its more than 2 billion users to chat without having to worry about positioning and controlling the device during video calls.

Portal and Portal+ are available now for pre-order in the USA from Facebook, Amazon and Best Buy.

The device will be available for pre-order in the U.S. and is created to allow users to make video calls at home without standing in front of the screen or hold a phone at arm's length constantly. "Portal's camera doesn't use facial recognition and doesn't identify who you are", the company says.

You can call Facebook friends and connections on Messenger even if they don't have Portal.

In a bid to carve out its share of the smart home devices industry, Facebook has announced the Portal and Portal+. Whichever of the two devices you settle for, you will still be able to make video chatting with the availability of a wide-angle camera capable of capturing your body, and tracking every of your movement within the living room.

Portal locks with a passcode, and its microphones and camera shuts off with the tap of a button.

Facebook today jumped into smart devices with the launch of the Portal and Portal+ displays. The social media giant is still dealing with a recent hack of over 50 million Facebook profiles. Is marrying a smart speaker with a video capability you already possess with your laptop, desktop or tablet/phone really that useful? The Portal's compatibility with Amazon Alexa expands its functionality with tens of thousands of voice-powered apps, or "Alexa skills", that are another avenue for reaching audiences or providing customer service.

"Smart Camera stays with the action and automatically pans and zooms to keep everyone in view".

"We don't listen to, view, or keep the contents of your calls in any way", Zuckerberg said.

"Frankly if we don't build the hardware, I do have concerns", Facebook's vice president of consumer hardware Andrew Bosworth admitted, saying it was crucial to put "people first" whether delivering a platform for virtual reality or augmented reality.

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