The Portal's built-in camera automatically follows users as they move and even widens the shot if a second person enters the frame. As you might expect, its main objective is to connect you with other Facebook users via Messenger; say "Hey Portal" to start a video call.
The Portal features a 10-inch HD 1280×800p display, while the Portal+ comes with a 15-inch Full HD 1920×1080p display. The only time when the Portal only sends your voice commands to the Facebook servers, when you use the phrase Hey Phrase. During calls, it can also play music on Spotify or videos from Facebook Watch, as well as tell children stories via augmented effects app Story Time. It has a 10-inch display and costs a pricey 2,399 yuan (US$353), more expensive than the Amazon Echo Show.
The camera is created to crop users into the frame and can detect when there are multiple people in the room and frame accordingly. Earlier this month, Facebook announced a security attack affected 50 million users that led to resetting the access tokens for a total of 90 million accounts.
"It would be better if this had end-to-end encryption, and you have to wonder why it doesn't when you recognise that WhatsApp - another part of the Facebook empire - uses it", said Wired's Mr White.
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The devices have their own voice control that can be used to start calls, but Portal also supports Alexa who can help with anything from expanding a grocery list to checking sports scores. The fast-changing dynamics of the smartphone and mobile app industry convinced him to take the Facebook to the next level - beyond the app. Oculus, Portal devices could be the just beginning, but provide us with some sense how Facebook would be functioning in the future.
Also, the company stresses that Facebook doesn't listen or view or keep the content of your Portal video calls.
In addition, the microphones and the camera can be easily disabled, and if the user does not trust the mute button, then you can lock the lens with a special rubber cap. Towards that, it will also respond to "Hey Portal" when users are ready to make a video call.
The marketing opportunities for Facebook's Portal are unclear, given that the devices now don't have ads, but the company notes that advertisers can reach Portal users with ad inserts in third-party video programming, per Facebook's Portal privacy page.
Geoffrey Fowler, a reporter from Washington Post, wrote that "the Portal is a sleek new video camera and screen that makes chats with family and friends look great".