Amid a controversial year for Facebook concerning the infamous data breach of over 50 million users privacy, Facebook have boldly unveiled 2 new smart screens. In what seemed to be a relatively low-key announcement, we were introduced to the new Portal and Portal+.
Just another tablet?
The Portal and Portal+ seem like another tablet that you keep permanently in your home. The combination of tablet and smart speaker connects to your Facebook Messenger and sports a 12mp camera which allows you to video chat your friends, even if they don’t have their own Portal. The camera uses AI to pan and zoom automatically in order to keep everyone in the frame during video calls or recording. A pretty cool feature.
The Portal has a 10” 720p display and Portal+ has a 15” 1080p display. The standard Portal will have a built in camera with a speaker below the screen. While the Portal+ will have a more prominent camera that sits on top of the tablet. There are 4 mics in both models so that it can pick up your voice anywhere in the room for when you’re talking or giving commands.
It looks like Facebook have teamed up with Amazon and will be powered by Alexa. However, to give it commands you must say “Hey Portal.” Which doesn’t have the same ring as “Alexa” in our own opinion. As you know by now, us at Goosed are massive advocates of the Amazon Alexa series.
And as with most smart speakers, you can play music, audiobooks and essentially everything you can do on the Alexa.
How private is your privacy?
One thing that Facebook emphasised when unveiling the product is that your privacy will be safe. Due to their track record, most people will take that with a pinch of salt. They have even gone as far as providing you with a physical lens cover to place over the camera lens. So they shouldn’t be able to snoop on you from the privacy of your own home. Although of course with all tech these days, that’s not really a guarantee. Due to the whole privacy breach this year, the Portals were actually pushed back 6 months. How this will affect sales is yet to be seen since most of their users have probably lost confidence in the social media platform.
The prices in the US for pre-order are currently $199 for the Portal and $349 for the Portal+. Although you got to ask yourself too, is your privacy worth that much?
There’s not word as of yet for a release date in the UK and Ireland but when it does we will be sure to keep you up to date, but don’t say we didn’t warn you before you splash out on one!