The social media giant has just announced a new video calling device.
Portal is the new hardware Facebook is introducing as a new way to connect with friends and family. It’s basically a video calling device that you can set up in your home where you can easily communicate with anyone in your friend’s list.
There will be two devices: Portal and Portal+, and both will utilize AI technology to make videos calls feel like you’re there with friends – though we can basically assume it will function just like other video calling software and hardware like Skype and the like.
The smaller Portal will have a 10-inch, 1280-by-800-pixel display while the larger Portal+ will have a 15-inch 1920-by-1080 screen that also pivots.
Through AI, Portal’s Smart Camera and Smart Sound technology will help you make hands-free calls. This includes using voice commands to initiate calls or the camera will automatically pan and zoom on your face just in case you’re walking around while in a video chat.
Those features are cool and while we’ve already seen them in other similar devices and services, some may raise privacy concerns especially after the recent hack that might have compromised more than 50 million accounts a couple of weeks ago.
Facebook did say they will make it easier to disable the camera and the microphone with just a single tap and the camera will come with a physical cover where if it’s closed it will automatically reject incoming calls and other notifications.
Facebook has started pre-orders in the US, with Portal costing $199 and the larger Portal+ for $349. Facebook will also waive $100 off if you order two devices.
That being said, we’re not completely sold on a dedicated video calling device from Facebook. What about you? Is the Portal something worth spending money on? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
More information about Portal can be found at portal.facebook.com.