Facebook Announces Launch of “Portal” Smart Speakers with Video; Devices Will Include Amazon’s Alexa Voice Assistant
Facebook on Monday unveiled a pair of smart speakers, complete with cameras and microphones, for your home.
The devices, Portal and Portal+, directly challenge Amazon, Google and Apple in the fast-growing smart-speaker market with a unique approach that will emphasize video calling. It’s Facebook’s first hardware product outside the Oculus line of virtual-reality devices.
Besides video calls, the Portal devices can stream music from Spotify, Pandora and Amazon Music and video from Facebook Watch. Not included at launch are services like Apple Music, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu or HBO Now.
The devices come equipped with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and the many skills available on that service, allowing them to ask questions like “What’s the weather?” or “How are my teams doing?”
The company is taking preorders for the devices now and will begin shipping them early next month. The Portal, which features a 10-inch screen, is available for $199 while the Portal+, which has a long, 15.6-inch screen, is priced at $349.
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.