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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Facebook Launch Three New Portal Devices


Facebook announced three new hardware products today focused on video calling and augmented reality, doubling down on its voice assistant products that will compete with similar devices from Google and Amazon.

The second-generation Portal, the new Portal Mini and new Portal TV each feature a camera and a set of microphones, and combine video calls with augmented reality features such as multiplayer games and 3D camera lenses.

All three devices, priced $129 to $179, are available for preorder starting today in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Companies like Google and Facebook generally hope to gain insights about consumer behavior through persistent interactions with their products that are eventually used for targeted advertising.

Facebook launched its first Portal device amid intense scrutiny of its privacy practices from U.S. and European regulators in 2018, prompting backlash from several tech reviewers. Facebook is also adding a new privacy option to all Portal devices that allows users to view, listen and delete any of their voice interactions using the Facebook Activity Log.

The devices will also be the first to run Facebook’s updated Portal operating system that was announced at the company’s annual F8 developer conference. In a surprising move, Facebook is adding Alexa skills including flash briefings, smart home controls and Amazon Prime Video to all of its Portal devices.

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