10. oct Facebook enters the smart speaker race with Portal and Portal+, featuring video calls and Amazon Alexa

Facebook enters the smart speaker race with Portal and Portal+, featuring video calls and Amazon Alexa

Tech News   |   10/10/2018 - 3:50pm   |   by N.Marcel   |   106

Facebook has entered the smart speaker market, attempting to battle Amazon Echo and Google Home.

 The Facebook Portal is more tablet than speaker, with both models featuring large touchscreens. The natural comparison is the Echo Show, and Facebook is undercutting slightly on the price. The entry-level Facebook Portal will sell for $199, launching in November. The Portal+ is in the Apple HomePod price range, priced at $349.

The Portal touts a 10-inch display and the Portal+ has a 15-inch panel — so big. They both feature webcams with video calls using Facebook webcams, and it integrates Amazon Alexa to provide most of its smart speaker features.

Facebook is leaning heavily on communication through Facebook Messenger. The camera tracks people in the frame when on a call, helping to keep someone in frame even if they move around the room. There’s group chat and you can include the same kind of stickers and effects as you find on Facebook video chats already.

The cheaper Portal has a 720p 10-inch screen, whilst the 15.6-inch model is 1080p. The base model has two integrated speakers, the bigger sibling incorporates louder speakers and a subwoofer. The 15-inch model can also rotate its screen in either landscape or portrait orientations.

The Facebook Portal relies on Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant at launch, although the company seems open to adding other options in the future. The onboard apps are limited to what comes preinstalled, there is no app store. Along with Facebook apps like Messenger and Watch, there’s apps for Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio and The Food Network.

Read more in the full article: 9to5mac

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