Facebook, at its F8 Conference, said that its first consumer hardware - Portal and Portal+ - will be rolling out internationally. At the conference, CEO of the social network Mark Zuckerberg said that the video chat devices will first arrive in Canada in June and then Europe later in the year. The device, which Facebook first unveiled last November 2018, lets people make video calls over the internet. At the F8 Conference, Facebook said that the Portal devices will also support WhatsApp calls, which are end-to-end encrypted.
"Now, you can be sure that when you're having conversations with your friends and family, everything stays between you," Zuckerberg said.
WhatsApp integration will bring more than one billion daily active users to Facebook's Portal smart display, "Even if you can't physically be together, you can be together," Zuckerberg added.
Portal is also expected to get augmented reality (AR) features and story reading effects later in the year Portal can be used to display photos from Instagram. Previously, Portal only displayed photos from the Facebook Feed. Facebook is also building a mobile app especially for Portal that will allow users to add photos from their camera rolls. Facebook users will soon be able to stream themselves via Facebook Live on to the Portal.
Facebook is pitting Portal against the likes of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The Menlo Park-based company is also working on an AI voice assistant for the Portal. As far as pricing is concerned, Portal sells in the US for $199 and $399 depending on the size of the display screen. The international pricing, however, is still not known.
The Portal has 720p resolution and a 10.1-inch screen, while the Portal Plus has 1080p HD resolution and a 15.6-inch screen. There is also the difference between the screen orientations of both the devices. The Portal is permanently fixed in the landscape mode while you can switch between landscape and portrait view with the Portal Plus.
Edited By: Udit Verma