Facebook launches AI-powered video chat devices

Facebook launches AI-powered video chat devices

Since Amazon Echo's release almost four years ago, both Google and Apple have followed Amazon in releasing smart speakers designed for use with their other digital services - some of them, at least.

Analysts said that Facebook was a little late to enter the smart speaker market, however, the technology will be a good move for future investments.

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 Facebook Portal, shipping in November, is now available for preorders through the device's official website, with the Portal going for $199 and the Portal+ selling at $349. "Portal and Portal+ also come with a camera cover, so you can easily block your camera's lens at any time and still receive incoming calls and notifications, plus use voice commands". It's been beaten into that game by Amazon, Google, Apple, Samsung and a handful of others. And intelligent enough, the wide angle will be used to fit in multiple people, while zoom in focus will be used for one user.

And it's also not encouraging that the only way to log in to a Portal device is by using your Facebook credentials considering that 50 million accounts were recently compromised. As well, the smart camera's AI runs locally, not on Facebook servers, and the camera doesn't use facial recognition.

Facebook also clarified about the information Portal would collect and how the company will use the information. In addition, it supported voice control with Amazon Alexa.

The reason we are saying people are not liking Facebook's new Portal is because this smart home speaker features a set of cameras that follow people around.

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Moving on from the camera department, the Samsung Galaxy A9 comes with an unknown octa-core processor that's clocked at 2.2 GHz. The ultra-wide camera (120°) has an 8MP sensor and f/2.4 lens and finally there's a 5MP depth sensor for bokeh effects.

This is Facebook's first dip in the hardware arena but, on paper, it seems to have more misses than hits.

In order to eliminate concerns, the tech giant said that it put privacy and security in mind while designing the new devices, through an option that lets the user completely disable the camera and microphone with a single tap. Additionally, one may also watch shows from Facebook Watch, If not this, there are other verified apps for idle browsing called Pandora, Spotify or the news service known as Newsy!

Furthermore, Portal has Amazon Alexa built in, so users have access to a robust voice experience to ask for sports scores, check the weather, control smart home devices, order groceries and more.

It should be noted that the company actually delayed the release of Facebook Portal until after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The company states that it won't allow Facebook to listen, view or even keep track of the contents of video calls over Portal. You can get $100 off any two devices.

The idea behind the portal is to make you feel connected to your loved ones by providing a casual at home video call with voice and video clarity.

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