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Facebook could put a camera in your home with video calling Portal device

Facebook introduces Portal and Portal+ with prices starting at $199

After lengthy rumours Facebook has finally announced Portal, their answer to the Amazon Echo Show. The first is simply called Portal and features a 10-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 800.

You can call Facebook friends and connections on Messenger even if they don't have Portal.

First going on sale in the USA in November, Portal will come with a 10in display for video calls, or a 15in display on the Portal+. For those who are fearless enough with their data to purchase two, there's a $100 discount.

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Called Portal and Portal+, the two devices are geared towards video calling and feature A.I. technology that can automatically follow a person as they move throughout a room and remove unwanted background noise during a call. People can delete their Portal voice history in their Facebook Activity Log at any time.

Portal and Portal+ also come with a camera cover, so you can easily block your camera's lens at any time and still receive incoming calls and notifications, plus use voice commands. Plus, to manage Portal access within your home, you can set a four- to 12-digit passcode to keep the screen locked. Facebook says that even the Facebook Messenger users who don't have Portal will be able to connect with Portal users by utilising cameras built in a laptop, smartphone or tablet.

The speaker comes integrated with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant technology, which provides an always-listening service for initiating these calls amid other functions like setting reminders and ordering groceries. The Portal+, on the other hand, has a 15-inch Full HD display that actually pivots, just in case you want to do stuff in portrait mode. Portal itself will be fitted out to use augmented reality effects that have become popular on Facebook Messenger. You can ask the device questions by using the voice command, 'Hey Portal'.

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If you're a company reeling from a data leak affecting 50 million users - not to mention the Cambridge Analytica scandal - what do you do next? Because the screen pivots, you can have chats in both landscape and portrait mode, unlike the vanilla Facebook Portal which is created to sit in landscape mode only.

Still, Amazon has shipped 1 million of its Echo speakers with displays over the last year, according to research firm Canalys, which expects 4 million such devices across brands to ship globally next year. If you're looking for a larger screen, the Portal+ is 15 inches wide, with both devices acting as a digital photo frame, displaying images from your Facebook feed when they are not being used to make calls. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 74 percent of Facebook members in the USA have in the a year ago taken a break, deleted the app from their phone or adjusted their privacy settings. It also doesn't have the best track record when it comes to keeping users' data safe. In addition, a number of Portal's features are opt-in, and there is no video recording feature.

It only takes a single tap to disable both the microphone and camera. Camargo told Cheddar that the devices' success will be measured internally by how much "engagement" they create with Facebook's video calling and other services.

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There are only a handful of third-party partners, so far, including Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Newsy, Food Network and Amazon Alexa.

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