Facebook begins shipping the Portal and Portal+, addresses privacy concerns

Facebook has started shipping its new smart displays, the Portal and Portal+, across the U.S. today, a month after the devices were announced by the tech giant. In a separate blog post, the company has also addressed privacy concerns surrounding Portal.

Primarily aimed at allowing people to communicate via video calling, the products also have Amazon's Alexa built-in, so as to provide users with the ability to perform various other tasks as well. These range from setting timers and checking the weather, to ordering groceries, controlling your smart home devices, and more.

Other interesting features the devices offer include a Smart Camera - a camera that pans and zooms to keep you in view -, and Story Time - a feature that transforms your face and voice into a story's characters using AR effects -, among others. While the standard Portal variant includes a 10-inch display with 1280x800 screen resolution, its larger counterpart offers a much more attractive 15-inch 1920x1080 display.

Facebook has also taken special note of the privacy concerns surrounding the launch of its devices, which is perhaps a smart move, considering the company's track record when it comes to handling users' private data. A clear privacy policy has been laid out, clarifying that the content of video calls won't be viewed or listened to by anyone except the users involved, nor will it be used for advertising. Furthermore, all video calls will be encrypted to keep them secure. The Smart Camera and Smart Sound features will run locally on the devices using AI technology, which means that the camera will be unable to identify users. More details on the privacy and advertisement policies regarding Portal can be read here.

The Portal and Portal+ are available for purchase from Facebook's dedicated website for the devices, as well as from the Amazon and Best Buy websites, and their outlets across the United States. The smaller and larger variant cost $199 and $349 respectively. Currently, a deal offering a discount of $100 on a purchase of two devices at the same time is being offered as well. This means that you can grab two of the smaller variants for just $298, in comparison to the regular price of $398.

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