Facebook adds battery-powered smart display to Portal lineup – TechCrunch
The Portal line has always been something of a weird duck in the world of smart displays. Facebook’s biggest contribution to the category is almost certainly Smart Camera, which uses AI to track a subject and pan and zoom accordingly to keep them in frame. This was the first major line to market this smart feature, although Google, Amazon, and even Apple have since offered their own version of the category.
The other main attraction of Portal (compared to Nest or Echo) is its integration with Facebook’s own software like Messenger and WhatsApp. Beyond that, the line has struggled to differentiate itself from Amazon and Google’s lead in the world of connected home hardware and smart assistants.
Today’s news brings an interesting new layer to the conversation, with the arrival of Portal Go, a battery-powered smart portal display. The 10-inch device sports a handle on the back for a quick grip and a battery that promises five hours of standard use and up to 14 hours of music playback with the screen off (there’s no currently has no specific battery saving mode).
It’s a smart addition to the line. We’re, without a doubt, pushing deeper into tablet territory here, but I’ve felt the urge to pick up and bring my Nest home to the other room more than once. Your mileage will vary.
I haven’t seen the thing in person yet, but I’m digging the design. It has rounded edges around large dark bezels and a fabric-covered backing that has been all the rage in the smart home category for several years now. The Go is wedged in a wedged design, with two front-facing speakers and a rear-facing woofer.
It has a front-facing 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera that performs the aforementioned smart panning, as well as a physical lens cover for privacy. The screen can also be titled up and down for an optimized viewing angle. The system does not currently support far field technology for a multiple speaker setup, which could complicate matters when you move it around the house.
There’s also a new version of the Portal +, which features the same camera setup, paired with a slim 14-inch tilting screen that can display up to 25 people at a time on a Zoom call. The Portal Go costs $ 199, while the new Portal + costs $ 349. Both devices are available for pre-order today and will start shipping on October 19.
In today’s news, Faceboook is also launching Portal for Business, aiming to position smart screens as teleconferencing products. By version:
With Portal for Business, SMEs will be able to create and manage Facebook business accounts for their teams. This is a new type of account that allows businesses to use their own email addresses to configure Portal. These work accounts will also provide access to other popular Facebook work products over the coming year.
Using Portal Device Manager, IT can remotely configure and wipe employee computers. The system is now available in closed beta.