Facebook Enters The Smart Speaker Space With New Devices

Facebook Enters The Smart Speaker Space With New Devices
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Social media giant Facebook has unveiled two new video communication devices for the home in an attempt to dramatically change the way people keep in touch.

Portal and Portal+ are designed to make video calling easier and more like hanging out, while the widescreen display lets people share every moment together.

Powered by AI, Portal’s Smart Camera and Smart Sound technology take all of the guesswork out of video calling, letting people enjoy a more convenient, hands-free experience.

Whether people are cooking in the kitchen or chasing the kids around the living room, Smart Camera stays with the action and automatically pans and zooms to keep everyone in view.

Smart Sound minimises background noise and enhances the voice of whoever is talking, no matter where they move.

Facebook Portal [2]

Users can call Facebook friends and connections on Messenger even if they don’t have Portal. Calls can be made to and from Messenger-enabled smartphones and tablets. Portal supports group calls of up to seven people at the same time.

Portal offers hands-free voice control, so users can start a video call simply by saying “Hey Portal” and noting who they’d like to call.

Furthermore, Portal has Amazon Alexa built in, so users have access to a robust voice experience to ask for sports scores, check the weather, control smart home devices, order groceries and more.

Portal also enables shared activities like listening to music together or watching your favourite shows. Facebook has so far partnered with Spotify Premium, Pandora, and iHeartRadio, as well as Facebook Watch, Food Network and Newsy.

Portal has a 10-inch, 1280 by 800 pixel display, while Portal+ has a 15-inch, 1920 by 1080 pixel pivoting display.

Both devices are available now for pre-order in the US and will begin shipping in November. The Portal device is being retailed for US$199, and the Portal+ for US$349.

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