Facebook launches Portal Go portable for $ 199
Facebook portal devices have proven surprisingly popular over the past year, largely due to the pandemic and our addiction to video calling. So it’s no surprise that the company is doubling down on the concept. Today, Facebook announces two new portals: An updated Portal + for $ 349, plus an all-new $ 199 Portal Go which is also the company’s very first portable smart display.
Yes, in short, this means that the Go can be removed from its charging station and transported. There is also a built-in handle on the back for easy transport. Despite the grip, it has a relatively compact form factor, with a 10-inch, 1280 x 800 screen housed in a casing wrapped in soft fabric.
The idea behind this portable portal, according to Facebook, is that you can keep the device in, say, a kitchen or an office, and it can then be moved around the house if the family gathers in a different room. Of course, since it’s portable, it can also be taken outside as long as you have a relatively strong WiFi signal. Since it can stream music from sources like Spotify, you can also use the Go as a portable speaker.
When it comes to battery life, Facebook says you’ll likely get up to five hours of one-on-one Messenger calls on a single charge and up to 14 hours of music playback if the screen is off.
Additionally, the company unveiled a new Portal +, which hasn’t been updated since the original launched in 2018. While we thought the first-gen model was a bit of an eyesore, the new Portal + brings a much improved design. With a 14-inch, 2140 x 1440 screen, it still has the largest screen of any portals, but its footprint is much smaller than before. The Portal + screen can also be tilted up and down to accommodate different heights.
Both new Portals feature a 12-megapixel camera with an ultra-wide field of view. Like the other portals, these use Facebook’s so-called Smart Camera technology, which uses AI to track you around the room, panning and zooming to keep you in the frame all the time. There is also intelligent sound technology that allows you to speak at a normal volume, regardless of the distance between you and the device, while still allowing your callers to hear you clearly.
Of course, with any Facebook product, privacy and security are obvious concerns. To help allay those fears, both new portals have built-in camera lens covers, and there are buttons at the top that disconnect the camera and microphone. The aforementioned smart camera AI technology runs locally on the device and not on Facebook’s servers. WhatsApp calls are end-to-end encrypted by default. At Messenger, However, you will need to specify the contacts and groups for which you want to enable end-to-end encryption (and even this feature is still in the deployment phase).
Besides the new hardware, Facebook also detailed some incoming software updates. One of them is household mode, which basically lets you share the portal with the whole family. In focus mode, you can allow access to a selection of shared apps and contacts, while keeping the rest personal. For example, then, you can let the whole family use apps like Messenger and WhatsApp, and allow them to call Grandma and Grandpa, but they won’t be able to contact anyone else unless you allow them to. . You can also configure a screen lock password to control access to the device.
The portal home screen has also been redesigned to be more personalized, with a top row of favorite contacts and a map interface similar to other smart screens. There is a card for Messenger Rooms, one for Spotify playlists shortcuts, another for the most used apps, etc. As for TV portal, the company will update it soon so that you can see call notifications like a pending room invitation or a missed video call.
Additionally, Facebook updated the Watch Together experience on Portal so that it can be used not only for portal-to-portal calls, but also with Messenger friends on the phone, laptop or tablet. On top of that, the company says it will bring multi-device support for WhatsApp to Portal in the coming months. This allows you to use WhatsApp on your phone as well as four non-phone devices at the same time.
Facebook is aware that portals can be used not only in the home context, but also for business purposes. That’s why it will add support for Microsoft Teams for all Portal devices starting in December. (He added support for Zoom, WebEx, BlueJeans and GotoMeeting last year.) There will also be a new Calendar app, which allows you to view your Outlook or Google calendar on Portal. The beauty of this is that you can then join your next meeting with a single tap on the screen.
In addition, Facebook introduces Portal for Business specifically for small businesses to deploy and manage Portal devices. They can create and manage Facebook work accounts that allow employees to use company email addresses to configure the portal. IT administrators can use a Portal Device Manager to manage devices remotely.
According to Facebook, the 8-inch Portal Mini will be discontinued, but the Portal TV and the 2019 10 inch gate requiring a power cord will always be available.
Pre-orders for Portal Go and the new Portal + start today. They will start shipping on October 19.