The pandemic has changed the way we see product launches from the leading tech companies. It has changed from jam-packed rooms to virtual events where people talking on camera seem more like super-advanced robots.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has leveled up the game, or so to speak, has made it more casual. He’s clearly enjoying the perks of working from home and literally launched Facebook’s new Portal smart displays from his kitchen counter.
This comes after Zuckerberg posted about a product launch from his Facebook account and asked the netizens to make their wildest guesses. The Portal lineup comes as the second major hardware launch from Facebook recently after the Rayban-branded smartglasses.
Facebook Launches New Portal Devices For Video Calling
Portal is the name given to a series of video calling devices from Facebook, introduced in 2018. The company’s lineup now includes the new 10-inch (800 x 1280) Portal Go which is aimed as a portable video calling device as it comes with a built-in all-day battery and a handle to be easily picked up. It packs a 12MP ultrawide camera with a 125-degree field of view.
The other one is the next-gen 14-inch (2160×1440) Portal+ that builds on the existing traditional design and needs to be constantly connected to power. It looks more like a tablet attached to a speaker similar to what you see on the Amazon Echo Show 10. Portal+ comes with a 12MP ultrawide shooter and a 131-degree field of view.
Of course, the lower-priced Portal Go cuts down on the screen resolution as it has to deliver more juice on the fly. Although, Facebook hasn’t specified the exact battery life of the device.
However, the company doesn’t seem to discriminate in the audio department as both Portal Go and Portal+ pack two 5W speakers, a 20W subwoofer, a 4-mic array for video calls and other entertainment. Both smart displays also feature dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity options.
Speaking of the price tag, Portal Go starts at $199 while the bigger screen will cost you $349. You can preorder them on the Facebook Portal website.
In addition, Facebook has also launched a new service called Portal For Business that allows SMBs to deploy Portal devices and video calling for their employees via dedicated Facebook Work accounts. These are new types of accounts that allow businesses to set up portal devices using company email addresses.
During the live call, Zuckerberg said that they are also enabling more features like Microsoft Teams integration, household mode to share your Portal device with family members, end-to-end encryption in Messenger calls, etc. He added that WhatsApp multi-device support is also coming in the next few months.
The CEO didn’t forget to mention his latest jargon and said that all these products are built around the idea of the metaverse. The company will shed more light on it later this month.
If we talk about the competition, Facebook Portal rivals the likes of Microsoft Teams certified video calling devices. And now Facebook is one step closer with its new service for small businesses. But at the time, the company is also trying to cater to the home audience and cut through the market of Echo Shows and Google’s Nest Hubs.
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