What if you could easily connect with your closest friends and family and feel like you’re in the same room — even when you’re miles apart? Facebook today announced Portal and Portal+, two new video communication devices for the home that dramatically change the way we keep in touch. Thanks to AI technology, Portal makes video calling easier and more like hanging out, while a widescreen display lets you enjoy every moment together. When you can’t be there, Portal and Portal+ let you feel there.
With a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display, Portal from Facebook improves video calling and lets you enjoy quality time with family and friends — hands and distraction free. Looking for a larger screen for more flexibility? You can also opt for a 15-inch 1920 x 1080 pivoting display with Portal+. Both models are designed to help you feel closer to the important people in your life and make video chats feel less like a call, and more like you’re actually in the same room.
Portal and Portal+ are available now for pre-order in the US from Facebook at portal.facebook.com, as well as Amazon and Best Buy — and will begin shipping in November. Portal can be brought home for $199 USD and Portal+ for $349 USD. Buyers can also receive $100 USD off any two devices — this means a bundle of two Portal devices will be priced at $298 USD.
Intelligent Design, Invisible Tech
Powered by AI, Portal’s Smart Camera and Smart Sound technology take all of the guesswork out of video calling, letting you enjoy a more convenient, hands-free experience. Whether you’re 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 minimizes background noise and enhances the voice of whoever is talking, no matter where they move. It’s like having your own cinematographer and sound crew direct your personal video calls.
Connect with Facebook and Messenger Friends
You 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.
Voice Control + Alexa
Portal offers hands-free voice control. You can start a video call simply by saying “Hey Portal” and noting who you’d like to call. Portal also has Amazon Alexa built in, so you have access to a robust voice experience to ask for sports scores, check the weather, control smart home devices, order groceries, and more.
Built with Privacy + Security in Mind
Privacy and security are important when bringing new technology into homes. That’s why Portal has been designed with tools that give you control:
- You can completely disable the camera and microphone with a single tap.
- 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.
- To manage Portal access within your home, you can set a four- to 12-digit passcode to keep the screen locked. Changing the passcode requires your Facebook password.
Facebook seeks to be upfront about what information Portal collects, help people understand how Facebook will use that information and explain the steps that will be taken to keep it private and secure:
- Facebook doesn’t listen to, view, or keep the contents of Portal video calls. Portal conversations stay between you and the people you’re calling. In addition, video calls on Portal are encrypted, so calls are always secure.
- For added security, Smart Camera and Smart Sound use AI technology that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers. Portal’s camera doesn’t use facial recognition and doesn’t identify who you are.
- Like other voice-enabled devices, Portal only sends voice commands to Facebook servers after you say, “Hey Portal.” You can delete your Portal’s voice history in your Facebook Activity Log at any time.
Portal also enables shared activities like listening to music together or watching some of your favorite shows. Facebook has partnered with Spotify Premium, Pandora, and iHeartRadio, as well as Facebook Watch, Food Network and Newsy — and will be adding more soon.
Facebook is also incorporating augmented reality (AR) effects — powered by their Spark AR platform — to make calls even more fun and interactive. Story Time brings stories to life with custom sound effects and visuals. Smart Camera helps you read a fun story via a simple teleprompter, perfectly framed, while your loved ones on the other side watch as your face and voice transform into the story’s characters.
And when you’re not on a call, Portal’s Superframe can display your favorite photos and videos and important notifications like birthday reminders, so you always feel a little more connected to your closest family and friends.
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