Amazon will be first to stores, with the revamped and larger Echo unit available Thursday, while Google's Home Hub, an extension of the Home speaker line, will be released on October 22. Facebook is offering Portal devices in discount bundles to urge people to buy them for relatives, Wired reported. The Portal comes in two sizes, priced at $199 and $349, and lets people make video calls to contacts on Facebook or its Messenger chat app. Facebook sends voice commands to its servers after users say "Hey Portal" to wake up the device, and that voice history can be deleted from a Facebook Activity Log.
The device, which will be available for pre-order in the United States, allows users to make video calls at home without having to stand immediately in front of the screen or hold a phone at arm's length. "With a camera and video in your house, your bedroom, your living room that takes voice commands, how do you know if your information will be retained?" During calls, it can also play music on Spotify and tell stories via AR effects app, Story Time. However, the social network may have announced the Amazon Echo Show challenger at a bad time. But, according to a few folks who reacted to the news, Alexa may not be enough to overcome the lack of trust some people have for the way Facebook has handled their data.
Their fears were compounded when Facebook revealed another security breach in late September, when hackers were able to enter its computer network, exposing the personal information of almost 50 million users. Nothing, I'm sure. Certainly, with a gentle nod to recent controversies, Facebook's bumf around the Portal devices waffles on about privacy measures in great detail.
Portal offers hands-free voice control, so users can start a video call simply by saying "Hey Portal" and noting who they'd like to call. The company has made technology tweaks to the Portal devices to guard people's privacy. Furthermore, Facebook Portal users can also deactivate the device's camera and microphone by pressing a button on the device.
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The smaller Portal is an Amazon Echo Show style device, with a giant display size of 10.1-inch and resolution of 1280×800 pixels and 10W dual speakers.
Portal and Portal+ are a range of new devices created by Facebook which lets people connect to each other using enhanced video calling, with the aim of making video calls feel more like people are in the same room. Facebook also says it will not listen to the contents of the calls, a problem that has hit Amazon's Alexa in the past. That being said, while it may seem like an excellent tool for video chatting, there is little else that you can do with it.
It's a particularly trying time for Facebook to release a home camera.