Facebook Launches Portal Smart Display

Just a day before Google is expected to launch its own smart display, Facebook is launching a smart display. The company has been working on a smart display product for a while, and it finally made things official this afternoon with the Portal and the Portal+.

The company’s Portal smart display is a 10.1-inch 720p device with a 12MP front camera. The bigger Portal+ sports a huge 15.6-inch Full HD display, which you can also rotate between portrait and landscape. Both the devices feature a 12MP camera on the front for pictures and video calls, with 4-microphone array for voice input. The larger Portal+ also includes 2 tweeters for the speaker, so the sound output will sound much better on the larger Portal+ than the regular Portal.

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Hardware wise, there really isn’t a lot to see here apart from the huge 15-.6-inch display on the Portal+. But the software is quite promising. The device itself is powered by Amazon’s Alexa, and although Facebook was originally believed to be building its own personal assistant for the smart displays, using Amazon’s Echo probably seemed like a much better idea and solution. Facebook is promoting the Portal devices as a way to communicate, focusing on video calling — the device’s camera will automatically zoom into the main subject in the camera when you are in a video call thanks to the Smart Camera feature, for example. There’s a feature called Smart Sound that will focus on your voice over other background noise, too.

The device also lets you play music with Spotify, connect with your friends on Facebook, and control your smart home through Alexa. All of this is pretty basic for a smart display, and devices like Amazon’s Echo Show have been offering similar features for ages.

But of course, with Facebook, privacy is a big concern. And the company is clearly aware of that — so the device is designed to respect your privacy, at least according to Facebook. The company says you can completely disable the camera and microphone whenever you want, and it doesn’t listen to any of your video calls, either. The AI used for the Smart Camera and Smart Sound features are also all happening locally, so you don’t need to worry about your video calls being stored on Facebook servers. And best of all, there’s a camera cover provided that lets you completely block out the camera of the devices with a physical cover if you still don’t trust Facebook — and frankly, I wouldn’t blame you.

Facebook’s Portal devices are available for pre-order now, with the 10.1-inch variant going for $199, and the 15.6-inch variant going for $349. You can order one here.

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Conversation 17 comments

  • Angusmatheson

    08 October, 2018 - 4:10 pm

    <p>Why wouldn’t you just get an iPad or a fire tablet? I don’t see the advantage of this over those devices?</p>

    • Angusmatheson

      08 October, 2018 - 4:10 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#351284">In reply to Angusmatheson:</a></em></blockquote><p>For the consumer. For Facebook the advantage is obvious.</p>

    • MikeGalos

      08 October, 2018 - 7:07 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#351284">In reply to Angusmatheson:</a></em></blockquote><p>It really doesn't compete with the iPad or and Android tablet. It competes with Amazon's Alexa Show and Alexa Spot.</p>

  • Patrick3D

    08 October, 2018 - 4:25 pm


  • Wizzwith

    08 October, 2018 - 4:54 pm


  • Doughendry

    Premium Member
    08 October, 2018 - 5:30 pm


  • waethorn

    08 October, 2018 - 5:31 pm

    <p>You just have to believe that they're turning off the camera and microphone. Because if you believe it'll happen, well….</p><p><br></p><p>AHAHAHAHA! Sorry I just couldn't say without laughing.</p>

  • simont

    Premium Member
    08 October, 2018 - 6:59 pm

    <p>It does sound like it has some good features and the camera shutter is a good idea. I still wouldn't buy on though. Or any smart speaker device right now.</p>

  • VancouverNinja

    Premium Member
    08 October, 2018 - 6:59 pm

    <p>All of these devices are a waste of money at this time. They will be obsolete quicker than the consumer can bat an eye.</p><p><br></p><p>More spaghetti being thrown at the wall…..</p>

  • MikeGalos

    08 October, 2018 - 7:02 pm

    <p>There are a lot of neat features in there but a camera cover is hardly worth "best of all" and the feature of the headline.</p><p><br></p><p>Kinect for Xbox One had a camera cover for privacy – that hardly was considered worth a headline.</p>

  • Jorge Garcia

    08 October, 2018 - 7:06 pm

    <p>What an inelegant solution to cover up the camera…including a separate (and visually unappealing) accessory that can and will get misplaced. It was clearly an afterthought -or- intentionally malevolent (to make sure you don't use it for too long). You could easily make a slider on the top that covers the lens in a subtle and hidden way…just like a lot of cheap point and shoot cameras used to do.</p>

    • winlonghorn

      09 October, 2018 - 2:32 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#351356">In reply to JG1170:</a></em></blockquote><p>They could give us a cap that’s made from 24 karet gold and prints free money and people would still find a reason to complain. I give them a lot of credit for trying to address people’s privacy concerns. </p>

      • Jorge Garcia

        09 October, 2018 - 6:42 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#351440">In reply to winlonghorn:</a></em></blockquote><p>I give them a lot of credit…but the execution was clearly last minute.</p>

  • Jorge Garcia

    08 October, 2018 - 7:11 pm

    <p> It is also sad that they have been forced by the current state of human devolution to embrace the idiocy of the "vertical" video.</p>

  • kjb434

    Premium Member
    08 October, 2018 - 9:24 pm

    <p>Facebook: "We continue to be tone deaf to the reality that surrounds us."</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

  • RM

    09 October, 2018 - 8:31 am

    <p>Product is DOA.</p>

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