After some time in development, Facebook is ready to launch its first run of video chat hardware.
Power of zoom
A brand new Alexa-equipped smart screen with auto-zooming video capabilities – the Portal has arrived.
The Portal combines Alexa and a chat screen that can be used like any smart home device, and clocks in at US$199 for the 10-inch Portal model and US$349 for the 15.6-inch hi-fi audio Portal+.
Both use “Hey Portal” voice navigation and Messenger to make video calls, with Pandora and Spotify for voice-activated music. Facebook Watch will also provide AR Story Time for kids, which sounds intriguing.
The privacy factor
But the big question is, are consumers comfortable with a Facebook camera/mic combo in their home? According to VP of Portal Rafa Camargo, all the hardware has been built from scratch with security as top priority.
What that means remains to be seen but shows cognisance on the designer’s part. A sharp display and quality audio doesn’t hurt the sales pitch as the device will be affixed in very visible areas.
If the hardware turns out to be quality, the units will likely sell. The appeal of an all-in-one device may be enough to tip potential consumers who have not yet invested in a smart home product.
Do you already have a smart home device? Would you be inclined to invest in a Portal? Why or why not? Give us your thoughts in the comment section.