Facebook announces Portal, Portal + video calling devices with Amazon Alexa voice assistant

    Facebook, the social networking behemoth has launched the Portal and Portal+, today. The Portal and Portal+ are two video communication devices for the home. The Portal devices use Smart AI Tech as well as has Amazon’s Alexa support.

    Portal and Portal+

    The Portal features a 10-inch HD 1280×800p display, while the Portal+ comes with a 15-inch Full HD 1920×1080p display. Both the devices come with a Smart Camera which pans and zooms across the room to keep everyone in view. There’s also Smart Sound Technology which reduces background noise and enhances the voice of the user who is talking, no matter wherever they move. All this is done using AI, which does all the guesswork for a convenient hands-free experience.


    Users can also make calls to their Facebook and Messenger friends, even if the other person doesn’t own a Portal device. Portal devices also support group calls of up to seven people at the same time. Also, calls can be made from and to Messenger-enabled smartphones and tablets.

    Portal offers hands-free voice control, allowing users to make a video call, just by saying the phrase “Hey Portal” and noting the person’s name you’d like to call. It also comes with Amazon‘s Alexa built-in, so, users can ask for sports scores, weather updates, control smart home devices, as well as order groceries from Amazon, using only voice control.

    As privacy and Security are a primary concern of every individual, the Portal and Portal+ come with a camera cover, which can be used to block the camera lens. However, you still be able to receive calls as well use voice commands. You can disable both the camera as well the microphone with a single tap, when not needed. Access to Portal can be restricted by locking the screen using a passcode which can be ranging between four to twelve characters in length. To change the passcode, users require to provide your Facebook password.

    Portal black

    Also, the company stresses that Facebook doesn’t listen or view or keep the content of your Portal video calls. For secure video calling, the calls on Portal are encrypted to keep your video calls between you and the person you are calling. The AI tech used for the Smart Camera and Smart Sound runs locally from the Portal device and not on Facebook servers. Also the Portal cameras don’t use facial recognition to identify who you are. The only time when the Portal only sends your voice commands to the Facebook servers, when you use the phrase Hey Phrase. Users can delete their voice history through Facebook Activity Log, at any given time.

    Pricing and Availability of Portal and Portal+

    The Portal and Portal+ go for, USD 199 and 349, respectively. However, buyers can get two Portal devices as a bundle for USD 298, which is USD 100 off.


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