Facebook Launches Portal Range of Video Calling Hardware

Facebook has announced Portal and Portal+, two new video communication devices with widescreen displays and a “smart camera” that tracks users and pans and zooms automatically to keep everyone in view, as well as AI technology powered by the company’s Spark AR platform. The standard version features a 10″ 1280 × 800 display, while the Portal+ packs a 15″ 1920 × 1080 pivoting display instead.

Portal integrates with Facebook Messenger and supports video calls to all users, regardless of whether they use a Portal device themselves. The device also features “smart sound”, designed to reduce background noise and enhance voice, while Alexa capabilities allows users to control their Portal display hands-free.

Facebook has also attempted to allay the concerns being voiced regarding privacy by including a one-touch camera and microphone shut-off feature, as well as a physical lens cover on the device itself. The company also says that calls are encrypted and AI features run locally on the device, not on Facebook’s servers.

Portal and Portal+ are available now for pre-order in the US and will begin shipping in November. Portal is priced at $199 and Portal+ costs $349. Facebook is also providing a bundle of any two Portal devices at $100 off the total.