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Facebook is launching more Portal smart display devices in more places

Facebook’s Portal smart display devices have been in the US for a while, but now the company is launching more devices and in other countries too.

As well as the original Portal and Portal+, there’s now going to be Portal Mini and Portal TV. All these devices are now going to be in the US and Canada, as well as being available in the UK, France, Space, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.

Facebook says these devices are intended to work to connect more people in your life. These are smart display devices, similar to the Amazon Echo Show, but with a heavy focus on video calling. 

The company says it plans to “lead the way” with video calling with the Portal line-up and to put people at the centre. The aim is to enable people to keep in touch with their families and loved ones more easily and for longer. Facebook says it expects that when people don’t have to hold their phone to place a video call, they’ll spend more time on the call – up to an hour or more. 

The main portal devices are designed with digital photo frames as a reference point, then with added smarts to enhance their usefulness. Portal Mini features an 8-inch 1280 x 800 screen, Portal has a 10-inch 1280 x 800 screen and Portal+ sports a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 display. They’re all built to be “private by design” with physical shutters to block off the camera and disable the microphone. 

These devices all have Amazon Alexa built-in as well as the company’s own voice assistant. You can use Facebook Messenger for voice calling and now WhatsApp support is here too. 

The main highlight of this new line-up of products may well be Portal TV. 

Portal TV works to transform your standard television into a massive video calling device. It’s nifty too, with a wide field of view camera, intelligent lens that tracks and follows people on the call as they move around the room and eight microphones to help beamform audio and ensure only voices are heard and other sounds are blocked out. 

Portal has other intelligence to make video calling more interesting. Things like Snapchat style AR effects, a storytime mode that lets families read bedtime stories even when they’re away from home and a “Watch Together” mode that lets you watch videos while on the call. 

Portal is now available to pre-order in the US, Canada and Europe with the Portal and Portal Mini set to start shipping 15 October and Portal TV 5 November. 

Portal Mini is £129/$129, Portal is £169/$179 and Portal TV is £149/$149. You can also buy any two Portal devices and get £50/$50 off. Find out more here.


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