Facebook launches camera-equipped screen

Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices

Portal will have Amazon Alexa built in and its Smart Camera will stay with the action and automatically pan and zoom to keep everyone in view.

It is programmed to capture quality sound, minimize the background noise, provide real-time video call experience to users. So, it can connect calls to people who are not using "Portal".

On Monday, Twitter users were quick to point to Facebook's privacy fallacies and what they saw as the company's impudence in asking people to trust it with a camera called Portal inside their homes. The tag line says it all: "When you can't be there, Portal and Portal+ let you feel there".

Facebook says that the device can't record video tracking function is only needed for proper construction of the frame, and processes the voice requests the device itself, not the servers of the social network. Spotify Premium, Pandora and iHeartRadio let users stream music on the devices, which also show programming from Facebook Watch, Food Network and Newsy.

Portal also has Alexa built-in, so you can use it just like an Echo, including controlling your compatible smart home accessories with it.

Now the devices are available for pre-order in the USA at $199 for Portal, and $349 for Portal plus. Facebook says it will also encrypt all video calls, and store all of its AI learning locally on the individual device, not on Facebook's servers. "Portal and Portal+ also come with a camera cover, so you can easily block your camera's lens at any time and still receive incoming calls and notifications, plus use voice commands". The 10-inch screen portal is selling at $199 and the 15.6-inch screen variant (portal +) is at $349. It also allows you quickly make calls with folks you're connected with on Facebook Messenger.

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Portal locks with a passcode, and its microphones and camera shuts off with the tap of a button. Facebook planned to announce what has become the Portal (formerly code-named "Aloha" at Facebook) at its annual developer conference, F8, in San Jose, California, on May 1, according to Bloomberg.

Facebook assures those interested that the Portal devices are "built with privacy and security in mind".

Unsurprisingly Facebook installs a version of Messenger on the Portal devices and you can converse freely with other Messenger users whatever platform they might be on. But there are still a lot of security concerns associated with Facebook's Portal making it to homes.

"We've seen a rise of video calling, on both Messenger and WhatsApp - it has been a tremendous trend", he said.

Since Amazon Echo's release almost four years ago, both Google and Apple have followed Amazon in releasing smart speakers designed for use with their other digital services - some of them, at least.

Facebook is billing the device as a way for its more than 2 billion users to chat with one another without having to focus on camera positioning and other controls.

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