About 1.5 million minutes are spent on a single day on video calls by people, alleges Facebook. To improve this experience, the social networking company on Monday comes up with two new AI-powered hardware devices named Portal and Portal Plus to improve the experience of video calling for its customers.
The Portal makes messenger video calls to be more chatty. It looks like a tablet and is designed to overcome the disruptions of the video calls such as to stay in one place in front of the mobile or computer camera or holding a phone. For zoom, pan, and frame the picture, it uses an AI-powered camera which allows you to move naturally and freely around.
The Portal is like your personal cameraman who has an expertise filming your calls. It gives you the experience as you are talking to somebody in real as per your convenience because you can share moments like playing, gardening or cooking.
The cost of Portal starts at $199 and it comes up with Amazon’s Alexa built as an add-on feature. The device costs around £150 Euros in the UK and in Australia it is expected to cost AU$280.
Facebook has showcased two models of Portal device – a 10.1-inch version and a 15.6-inch version which is called Portal Plus. Though both of them look different in size, despite that they share the same software and processor. The smaller size Portal has a horizontally fixed screen having a speaker which makes up the base. It’s like Amazon Echo Show 2 or Lenovo Smart Display 10. Its screen is dotted with a letter “i” by a single camera. On the other hand, Portal Plus looks different as it is bigger in size and gives you a look of iMac G4. If you want to show a wider view to the person on the other end, you can rotate the screen up to 90 degrees. Portal plus has a premium and a slick design which is quite different from the smaller portal. The Portal Plus according to Facebook with cost user $349.
If you want to call someone on messenger, you simply call the name of the person whom you want to call. It does not matter whether that person has the Portal device or not. You can also use your touchscreen to make a call. When the call starts, the camera starts following your movement. It also has a unique feature of identifying multiple people and focusing on one with a feature called Spotlight.
Facebook is coding messenger data to the Portal which means that your data will never go online. As many of us know about the Cambridge Analytica Scandal in which the data of 87 million Facebook users got affected. Therefore, it will be too early to say whether this local coding or encryption is enough to ensure people if the Portal is totally safe or not.
The device also has a mute button located on the top of the device and a cap to cover the camera lens when not in use. Such features are designed to prevent any accidental video calling through the device.