Facebook continues to invest in the Portal smart speaker. The company launched three new models on Wednesday (18) and, certainly, the main novelty is Portal TV, which makes WhatsApp and Messenger video calls via television.
Unlike the devices announced in 2018, Portal TV does not have its own screen. It has a microphone and camera, but shows its interface on television. Users can navigate the system with the remote control that leaves the factory with the device.
To improve the quality of video calls, the device has microphones at eight points, while the other models have only four points. In addition, the device’s camera has a 120º field of view. The others have a 114º field of view.
There is also a feature for two Portal TV users to watch the same thing while in a video call. Called Watch Together, it supports only Facebook Watch videos, but could be taken to more services in the future.
When the feature is in action, the TV prominently displays the video being shared and displays the other person in a small window.
Portal TV is already pre-sold for US $ 149 (about R $ 610). The device, which will not be offered in Brazil, will begin shipping to users on November 5.
Portal and Mini Portal
Facebook also launched new models similar to 2018. The Portal has a 10-inch screen, while the Portal Mini has an 8-inch screen. Both display high definition images and can be used in portrait or landscape mode.
Like Portal TV, they have buttons to disable the camera or microphone independently. Until last year, a single button turned off both. The devices also have a light at the top to indicate that the microphone is off and have a physical cover for the camera.
Facebook claims to have improved the audio of the new versions of the Portal. The devices have two speakers and a subwoofer, which should offer more quality for video calls and music playback.
They follow with an artificial intelligence camera capable of offering filters and framing users in video calls even when they are on the move. According to Facebook, the Portal camera knows when there is a person in the environment, but does not perform facial recognition.
The company also claims that image processing is done locally and is not sent to its servers.
The devices also have a browser, access to Amazon Prime Video, Alexa and an own virtual assistant that is activated when you hear “Hey, Portal”. Voice commands can be recorded and heard by Facebook employees, but storage can be disabled.
The Portal is pre-sold for US $ 179 (R $ 735). The Mini Portal, in turn, costs US $ 129 (R $ 530). They will be sent from October 15th, but they should not arrive in Brazil either.
The three new models are available in only eight countries: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.