Now that our homes are full of smart speakers, there seems to be a new focus on getting us to adopt smart displays as well. Amazon has been pushing them for a while in the form of the Echo Show , which is now in its second generation. Google also entered the fray with the Home Hub, and now Facebook is entering the market with Portal.
Launched last month for pre-order, the Portal comes in two forms sporting a 10.1-inch, 1,280-by-800 display, or a 15.6-inch, 1,920-by-1,080 display as the Portal+.
The main reason for owning a Portal device is to use it for video calls through Messenger. It uses a smart camera to follow you around the room and automatically minimizes background sound to improve the quality of your chat. At the same time, Facebook embraced Amazon and included support for Alexa. So the Portal and Portal+ can act as a replacement for an Echo device , too.
As this is Facebook, privacy is a concern and Zuckerberg is well aware of that. To boost confidence and promote privacy, the social network ships both versions of the Portal with a camera cover, the ability to disable the camera and the microphone with a single tap, and a four- to 12-digit passcode for security.
Both versions of the Portal start shipping today and discounts are available depending on how many you purchase. The Portal costs $199 where as the larger Portal+ is $349. If you buy one of each Facebook knocks $100 off the total. Purchase two of the smaller Portal devices and the price drops to $298.