Social media allows people to stay connected with their friends and family. Facebook was built on this premise and has taken this one step further by introducing the brand-new Portal. Like most tablets and phones, the Portal is a wireless screen that displays the person you are calling. However, with a 10-inch screen, or a 15-inch for the Portal+, conversations feel less like a phone call and more like you are in the same room as the person connected via the Portal. At least this is how it is portrayed in the commercials.
The mechanics behind Portal calls involve Facebook Messenger. Therefore, the Portal can connect to any phone or tablet that has Messenger installed. To make a call, the user simply says “Hey Portal” followed by the person’s name. This device, along with its many amazing features, retails the basic Portal model at $199 and $349 for the Portal+.
The Portal belongs not only in the video calling device category, but also in the smart display market. First of these devices was Amazon Echo, and now there’s also the Facebook Portal and Google Hub. For those familiar with the Amazon Alexa feature of the Echo, you may be surprised to find the Portal also utilizes Amazon Alexa. One thing that sets them apart is the Artificial Intelligence (AI) camera offered by the Portal. For a review of both the Echo and Portal features, visit the CNET comparison page. If you aren’t interested in the calling feature used in conjunction of a camera, you may want to review the comparison of all three: Facebook Portal, Amazon Echo, and Google Hub. Because of the features offered by all three units, devices of this type are quickly becoming the household norm.
Author: Emily Cieslewicz, IT Tech Assistant
“Introducing Portal From Facebook: New Video Calling Devices to Connect You With Friends and Family.” Facebook Newsroom, Facebook, 8 Oct. 2018, newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/10/introducing-portal/.
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