Portal and Portal+ are Alexa Powered Smart Speakers by Facebook

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Surprise! Facebook just launched its own Alexa-powered smart speakers. The Portal and Portal+ are smart speakers, with a large touchscreen as well. The form factor is similar to that of the Echo Show.

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The Portal has a 720p 10-inch screen whereas the Portal+ has a 1080p 15-inch display. Both the speakers have webcams which integrates with Alexa. The camera tracks people in the frame when on a call. The group chat feature is also enabled with same stickers and effects you find while video calling someone on Messenger.

The Portal has two integrated speakers while the Portal+ has loud speakers and a subwoofer. The 15-inch model can also rotate its screen in either landscape or portrait orientations. Unfortunately, there is no app store. The apps included are Facebook’s own  Messenger and Watch. Other apps include Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio and The Food Network.

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But given the privacy concerns Facebook has, is it viable for 10-inch and 15-inch smart screens with webcam sitting on countertops? Well off course Facebook had to do something to address these concerns. Both devices include a camera cover.

A physical button disable the mic and camera. The button actually disconnects the camera circuitry, it’s not merely a software disable, so you can’t just turn it on with software. The company has also intentionally not included any video recording features with the product.

The Facebook Portal and Portal+ will go on sale in the United States next month, for $199 and $349 respectively.

Image Source : Facebook

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