Facebook announces Portal, Portal

Facebook Introduces AR Enhanced Video Calling Devices

Travis Ruff, chief information security officer for customer data platform Amperity, acknowledges the skepticism, but thinks the functionality will overcome users' privacy concerns. New Atlas reports that a caller, or receiver, need not own a Portal device in order to communicate with one, so long as they have another device like a smartphone that works with Facebook Messenger.

But despite having Amazon as a retail partner and the Alexa integration, its unclear that Amazon Music can be accessed via Alexa on a Portal speaker.

Portal and Portal+ are a range of new devices created by Facebook which lets people connect to each other using enhanced video calling, with the aim of making video calls feel more like people are in the same room.

The Portal+ has a 15.6-inch display with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels that can be oriented vertically or horizontally. 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.

Anyway, Portals will start shipping in the U.S. next month to anyone courageous enough to take the plunge. While we all have capable devices, that is laptops, tablets, phones ready and willing to play this role in our lives, an appliance for video conferencing is far more convenient, and more approachable by all demographics, specifically kids and the elderly.

Portal was designed as a screen and camera gadget to make video calling more intuitive and immersive by using Artificial Intelligence and motion sensors to detect movement during video calls.

Facebook also employs a unique technology that allows the device to follow the user as he or she moves about the room.

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In SmartCamera mode, the machines automatically reframe the image to take account of additional people entering the room.

Zuckerberg has addressed such concerns, and sought to reassure consumers. He said: "Privacy is built deeply into Portal". The camera has a physical cover and there's a built-in hardware button to turn off the camera and microphone. "All the calls are always completely private".

The company had originally planned to pull the curtain back on Portal at F8 earlier this year, but the Cambridge Analytica scandal meant the project was put on ice for several months. "Especially with the trust deficit, (marketers and consumers) shouldn't just accept what Facebook is telling them", she said. As with most news around voice, marketers see opportunity - even if they don't quite know what that is yet.

Facebook unveiled Portal, which comes with a 10-inch 1,280 x 800 touchscreen, as a smart speaker that is focused on enabling video calling among friends and family.

The product is also equipped with a 10-inch screen and voice recognition digital assistant, and supports high-definition video and music streaming services.

Baidu, China's biggest search engine, was the first to launch a smart display in the country.

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