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Facebook Portal

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Facebook Portal is the social media network company's brand of smart displays.

Facebook Portal is mainly focused on hands-free video calling. The device is intended to be a central appliance for a household of Facebook users. Calls can be transferred seamlessly from Portals displays to smartphones or tablets.

The devices come in two versions distinguished by screen size: Portal and Portal Plus. Both units feature a camera that adjusts to keep the user in frame to allow users to move freely during video calls. While camera zooming and panning is performed by AI, it uses embedded AI that doesn’t use facial recognition or distinguish between users. As with smart speakers, Portal is said to only listen after being activated by its voice command: “Hey Portal." Amazon Alexa and Facebook Messenger are also integrated into Portal.

To assuage security concerns, the devices feature a button to disable the microphone and camera. Critics are still concerned Portal will perform the same data harvesting as other browser and smart phone apps.

Potentially notable are the television commercials advertising Portal, which predominantly features older users and may hint at the demographic Facebook is aiming for with their new device.

Portal was set to be released in May 2018, but was delayed. The device was officially released on November 8, 2018.

This was last updated in December 2018

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