This has been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. Facebooks Portal, a smart speaker and camera device is now available for pre-order.
Facebook has been working on Portal at least since last February when it was reported that the company was working on an Echo Show rival. The product’s main premise “if you can’t be there, feel there” shows that Portal is heavily video-chat oriented. Moreover, it’s voice-activated, with users expected to say “Hey Portal” in order to activate its services.
When it comes to video-chatting, Facebook Portal promises unparalleled technology, as it utilizes sensors to track your movements and always keep you in the frame. Also, its voice-enhancing microphones will deliver crisp sound to your video mates, no matter the distance that separates you from the device.
Portal works over Messenger, meaning that it’s fully encrypted, means that all conversations and video-chats are encrypted too. It also means that all your Messenger contacts are readily available and that they don’t have to own a Portal to initiate a conversation.
— Facebook (@facebook) October 8, 2018
In fact, Facebook places significant importance on security with this one, allowing users to disable microphones and cameras with a single tap, or even seal them with a specially-designed cover. The whole Facebook data leak debacle has also been omnipresent during the development phase, with Portal emphasizing that it doesn’t keep a record of your chats and that its camera function runs locally, and not on Facebook servers.
Some users are reluctant, stressing that the timing couldn’t be worse to launch such a device, which could potentially act as a ‘digital intruder’ – and understandably so. However, Facebook has been particularly late in offering a smart voice and camera device and hopes to steal some of Amazon’s share of the market.