In a “big shift”, Facebook on Monday launched a range of Artificial Intelligent (AI)-powered video-calling devices to take on its rivals Amazon and Google.
It's been a big shift for the company," Facebook's vice president of consumer hardware Andrew Bosworth told news agency AFP before the launch of "Portal"."We've seen a rise of video calling, on both Messenger and WhatsApp -- it has been a tremendous trend," he said.
What is 'Portal'?
# The device is designed to allow users to make video calls at home without having to stand immediately in front of the screen or hold a phone at arm's length.# It will be available for pre-order in the United States from Monday.
# During a conversation, the integrated camera can automatically zoom out to include a second person, or be instructed to follow a certain individual as they walk around, even picking out their voice over background noise.
# The camera can be blocked by a cover and the device has a button for disabling both the lens and the microphone.
# To start the call, all it takes is: "Hey Portal." During calls, it can also play music on Spotify or videos from Facebook Watch, as well as tell children stories via augmented effects app Story Time.
# Putting a camera into people's homes is likely to raise privacy issues for the social media giant, which has suffered several major data breaches this year involving tens of millions of user accounts.
# Facebook, however, has moved to quickly allay security fears, saying that by keeping the processes on the actual device rather than in the cloud, the risk of hacking is lower than with a smartphone or computer.
# Offering hands-free voice control, Portal comes in two sizes, a 10-inch screen which retails at $199 (173 euros) and a 15-inch version will go for $349.
(With AFP inputs)