Facebook Launches Video Calling Portals

Facebook Launches Video Calling Portals
The two Portal devices' cameras use artificial intelligence software to follow the user as they move around.

(CCM) — Facebook has unveiled two smart speakers equipped with screens and cameras, which have been designed for making video calls using its Messenger service.

Both devices, the smaller Portal and the larger Portal+, use artificial intelligence to control the 140 degree camera, zooming in on a user's face or following them walking around the room as they talk.

The devices incorporate a simple voice control system for calls, enabling users to start a video call by saying "Hey Portal, call Randy." They also offer limited augmented reality features such as the ability to add digital mustaches and other items to users images on the screen.

For more complex voice-controlled tasks, both Portal devices also incorporate Amazon's Alexa intelligent assistant. This enables users to operate connected smart home devices and stream music from Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Pandora.

The smaller Portal device has a 10-inch horizontal screen, while the larger Portal+ has a 15-inch screen that can rotate from landscape to portrait positions. The devices are priced at $199 and $349 respectively, and Facebook is offering a $100 discount when two devices are bought at the same time.

The Portals are available for pre-order now from Facebook, Amazon, and Best Buy, and shipping will commence in November.

Image: © Facebook.