The $349 Portal+ has a 15-inch, 1920×1080 display that can pivot into portrait and landscape modes. For those who are courageous enough with their data to purchase two, there's a $100 discount.
The company goes so far as to ship the Portals with a physical camera cover, and promises that it doesn't "listen, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls".
Facebook's new Portal communications device. Its primary goal is to make video calls - the thing any smartphone, tablet, or computer can do - but Amazon Alexa is built-in so it can be your assistant, too. Users can ask for things like weather forecasts, traffic updates, and sports scores, but it's unclear if all of Alexa's more than 50,000 skills are available on Portal devices. Facebook is marketing the device Portal, as a way for its more than 2 billion users to chat with one another without having to fuss with positioning and other controls. When you're not using the 10-inch touch screen for calls, it displays images from Facebook, such as a shared album you choose.
Not a lot of us trust Facebook.
Earlier in the year, it was forced to admit the personal data of tens of millions of users had been hijacked by Cambridge Analytica (CA), a British firm working for Donald Trump in 2016.
The only video calling platform the device supports is Messenger, naturally. If there are a bunch of people chatting, the camera will zoom out in an attempt to get everyone into the shot at the same time. The Smart Sound feature will reduce the background noise while enhancing the voice of the person that's talking. But Facebook says it has crafted its Portal gadgets, launched this week, to be as un-creepy as possible.
The Portal also has a button on the top that cuts off its microphone and camera.
But Facebook has moved to quickly allay security fears, saying that by keeping the processes on the actual device rather than in the cloud, the risk of hacking is lower than with a smartphone or computer.
Portal can be passcode protected. Story Time brings stories to life with custom sound effects and visuals.
They said Portal is available at Amazon and Best Buy stores in addition to Facebook.com and starts shipping to USA customers in early November. All other functions are local (aside from certain Alexa functions when you say "Hey Alexa"). If not, you'll want to avoid Portal, its new smart displays focused on video chat.
Both devices are available for preorder online in the U.S. through Facebook ($FB), Amazon ($AMZN), and Best Buy ($BBY).
The $199 Portal has a 10-inch, 1280×800 touchscreen.
That means the Portal is in essence a smart display with less features than what you'd get from competing Alexa or Google Assistant-powered devices, that tries to make up for that gap with better face chat features. Even as these two tech giants team up, though, Facebook has asserted ownership over the device by offering its own voice controls, as well.
Click below to pre-order your Facebook Portal or Facebook Portal Plus today!