Facebook has unveiled a new line of Portal devices that bring to smaller smart screen form factors its auto-zooming AI camera, in-house voice assistant speaker, Alexa, apps like Spotify and newly added Amazon Prime Video, Messenger video chat and now end-to-end encrypted WhatsApp video calls. The new Portal TV lets you hang out with friends on your home’s biggest screen.The portal TV is basically a clip-on camera for video calling AR (Augmented Reality) gaming and content co-watching.
This new $149 portal TV turns your television into a video chat device. If you video call between two Portal TVs, you can use the new Watch Together feature to co-view Facebook Watch videos simultaneously while chilling together over picture-in-picture.
This new exciting product has some amazing features. It works with TVs using an HDMI connection. It has voice command functionality available in English, the smart camera pans and zooms to keep up with the action and when more people join in it widens to ensure everyone is in view. The portal TV lets you video call with friends and loved ones on WhatsApp and Messenger even if they don’t have portal. Awesome right?
There’s also the new pint-size 8-inch Portal Mini for just $129, which makes counter-top video chat exceedingly cheap. The 10-inch Portal that launched a year ago now has a sleeker, minimal bezel look with a price drop (from $199 to $179). Both look more like digital picture frames, which they are, and can be stood on their side or end for optimal full-screen chatting. Lastly, the giant 15.6-inch Portal+ swivel screen falls to $279 instead of $349, and you still get $50 off if you buy any two Portal devices.
The Portal and Portal Mini can be flipped on their side and look a lot like picture frames while running Portal’s Smart Frame showing your Facebook, Instagram or camera roll photos.
Portal TV includes an integrated smart speaker that can be used even when the TV is off or on a different input, and offers HDMI CEC for control through other remotes. The built-in camera cover gives users peace of mind and a switch conjures a red light to signal that all sensors are disabled.
The new Portals are pre-sale today from Portal.facebook.com, Amazon and Best Buy in the U.S. and Canada, plus new markets like the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Italy and France (though the “Hey Portal” assistant only works in English). Portal and Portal Mini ship October 15th and Portal TV ships November 5th.
The Portal app platform that features Spotify and Pandora is gaining Amazon’s suite of apps, starting with Prime Video while Ring doorbell and smart home controls are on the way. Beyond Messenger calls and AR Storytime, where you don characters’ AR masks as you read aloud a children’s book, there are new AR games like Cats Catching Donuts With Their Mouths. Designed for kids and casual players, the games had some trouble with motion tracking and felt too thin for more than a few seconds of play.
Facebook is cutting the excuses of distance and bringing friends and loved ones closer with the use of portal TV. Memories are made with portal TV.