Facebook announces new Portal line products, focusing on video calls

Facebook has increased today (19) its Portal line with two new products aimed at online meetings and other video calls. The Portal Go and Portal Plus screens aim to compete with competitors such as Amazon Echo Show, with new portability features and higher camera quality.

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Portal Go

Portal Go is finished in fabric and can be carried anywhere (Image: Disclosure/Facebook)

The Portal Go is possibly the most differentiated product in relation to devices from other brands, as it has an internal battery, and therefore does not it needs to be constantly plugged in — it can be charged via a small magnetic base that comes with the box.

The body of the Smart screen is small and focused on practicality, as it can be easily carried anywhere and features a carrying handle. The display has 12 inches and a resolution of 1024 x 800 pixels, and the front camera brings 15 MP, which can be considered a good sensor compared to other similar items on the market.

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To assist in video meetings, the Portal Go system is capable of automatically framing who is in focus, moving horizontally, vertically and also with variable zoom levels. The product brings optimizations for calls on Facebook, WhatsApp, Zoom, Webex, BlueJeans and GoToMeeting, with the expected inclusion of Microsoft Teams in the coming months.

To please corporate users, it also has a calendar app that is capable of syncing appointments scheduled in Outlook or Google Calendar.

Portal Plus second generation

Device brings the possibility of creating individual profiles (Image: Disclosure/Facebook)

Portal Plus received an update regarding the first model of the line, released in 2160. Now it has a slightly smaller screen — 12 inches against 14, 6 inches from the predecessor -, which allows viewing up to 21 people in a meeting in Zoom, for example . The device maintains the same resolution as 2160 x 1440 pixels, just like the camera 15 MP is identical, bringing support for the same apps for video calling and managing upcoming appointments.

As well as the Go version, the Portal Plus can respond to voice commands from activation through the speech “Hey, Portal”, having Alexa compatibility to access Amazon’s virtual assistant services. A profile sharing mode allows the whole family to be able to use the same device, with separate access to each member’s contacts on Messenger or WhatsApp.

Moreover, the new products do not require calls necessarily take place between Portal screens, and it is now possible to communicate with any device that has Facebook’s own messenger.

As is common for any product that Facebook shows off, privacy is a hot topic, especially given the series of sensitive data leak scandals that have been reported over the past decade. This time, the brand points out that the Portal line screens bring a password system to access any device function, in addition to the possibility of disabling the internal cameras and microphones, also with a physical cover for the front lens.

The brand has also disclosed that video calls can be encrypted, but this setting is not enabled by default and requires user trigger for specific contacts and groups. It is also possible to disable the interaction history through the “Hey, Portal”.

Prices and availability

The products will be available from the day 21 of October in US and Canadian retailers. The suggested price of Portal Go is 199 dollars (about R$1. 21 in direct conversion), while Portal Plus leaves by 800 dollars (BRL 1.350).

As Facebook brings a great focus to the corporate use of smart screens, a program is planned for mass sales to companies, but more details have not yet been released. There is no information on product availability in other markets, but the brand already sells other Portal branded items also in France, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

Source: The Verge

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