The Facebook Portal, an AI-powered smart speaker with a touchscreen that looks to challenge the Amazon Echo Show, may have been announced at a bad time.
User concerns on digital security are escalating, and Facebook has played its part in driving up the fears. The Facebook Portal, meanwhile, will likely not help downplay those concerns.
Facebook Portal, Portal+ Unveiled
Facebook unveiled Portal, which comes with a 10-inch 1,280 x 800 touchscreen, as a smart speaker that is focused on enabling video calling among friends and family. The Portal+, meanwhile, features a larger 15-inch 1,920 x 1,080 touchscreen.
The Facebook Portal uses an AI-powered camera to pan, zoom, and reframe the picture. Users in conversation through the smart speaker will be able to freely move around, as the camera will follow their every move.
Facebook Portal owners will be able to call other users who have the device as well as Facebook Messenger apps on smartphones and tablets.
In addition, for user privacy, the Facebook Portal will come with a cover to block the device’s camera when it is not in use.
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. Purchasing two of them will result in a $100 discount off the total price.
Bad Time For Facebook Portal?
Facebook’s Portal and Portal+ smart speakers may turn out to be very useful devices, but the issue that users have with the announcement of Facebook’s first gadget is that it arrives after a massive Facebook security breach.
There are data privacy concerns associated with the Facebook Portal, because while the speaker does not have video recording functions, it is always listening due to Amazon Alexa integration.
It should be noted that the company actually delayed the release of Facebook Portal until after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Despite the recently reported data breach that may have compromised the data of 50 million users, Facebook decided to launch the device to be able to participate in the upcoming holiday shopping season.
It remains to be seen whether customers can forget about the recent data breach, but it looks like Facebook Portal is entering the world at a bad time.