Facebook's new Portal smart speakers could be worthy challengers to Amazon's Echo

Facebook wants people to invite its cameras into their homes

Portal devices are also created to hook up through Facebook Messenger, so you can call people via the social network - even if they didn't buy one of these devices themselves. Featuring a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display, Portal from Facebook improves video calling hands and distraction free.

The Portal will have Alexa built in (and possibly Google Assistant in the future), so you'll be able to use it to check news, weather, and sports and control smart home devices.

The Portal is available for preorder online and will arrive in stores in November. Buy two Portals and get $100 off.

The device, which will be available for pre-order in the United States from Monday, is created 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.

The Smart Camera in the Portal also includes cutting-edge tracking and framing, which allows a user to move around a room, like a kitchen, freely and naturally so they can talk and do other things at the same time.

For those not jazzed about giving Facebook that much access, maybe don't buy the Portal. Both devices also feature a button that turns their cameras physically off. Portals also support a four- to 12-digit passcode; to change that code, you'll need to enter your Facebook password.

Facebook also mentioned that it doesn't "listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls" and that calls are encrypted, making them more secure.

Portal will not display Facebook ads "at this time", the company said, although it noted that third-party services such as music streaming might embed their own ads the same way they do on other devices. The larger variant looks more distinctive, with a swiveling 15.6 inch screen that lets you orient it in landscape or portrait.

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Unsurprisingly, Portal devices use Facebook Messenger to video chat with others. Facebook hasn't been the most forthcoming company when it comes to letting users know which data it collects and how it's using that data. The company says the camera only runs locally, it does not connect to its servers and the only recordings it keeps are voice commands that people can see in their activity logs and can be deleted.

Facebook Portal is a video communication device from Facebook.

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. All of this is pretty basic for a smart display, and devices like Amazon's Echo Show have been offering similar features for ages.

While the long-anticipated product could eventually open up fresh display advertising revenue streams for Facebook, its launch comes in the aftermath of the social network's biggest ever data breach and amid growing concerns around user privacy.

Facebook will offer Portal in two sizes - a $199 model with a 10-inch horizontal screen and a $349 "Plus" version with a 15.6-inch screen that can switch between vertical or horizontal orientations. By shipping the Portal with Alexa, Facebook might be proactively avoiding a controversy about data collection.

The Portal also takes advantage of the best part about Facebook: photos.

Users will have access to services such as Spotify Premium, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Facebook Watch, Food Network, and Newsy at launch, with more services being added later.

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