Facebook Releases Smart Calling Chat Devices

Published October 9th, 2018 - 07:09 GMT
(Shutterstock/ File Photo)
(Shutterstock/ File Photo)

Facebook launched the devices in 10-inch and 12-inch variants.

Facebook on Monday unveiled a pair of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered smart video chat devices, Portal and Portal +, which are designed to connect people and feel like being in the same room.

For residents residing in the UAE away from their families, this tablet-size screens for the home can dramatically change the way we communicate. Their built-in AI technology makes video calling easier and more like hanging out.

"With a 10-inch 1280 x 800 display, Portal from Facebook improves video calling and lets you enjoy quality time with family and friends. You can also opt for a 15-inch 1920 x 1080 pivoting display with Portal+," Facebook said in a statement.

Video calling in the UAE
In the UAE, access to video calling app, Skype is blocked since it provides unlicensed Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Service. However, there are few legal apps that residents can use to call their families back home. Find the list below:

HiU Messenger app

Etisalat in September launched HiU Messenger app, allowing users to make internet calls. According to their website, it is a video calling app that works on smartphones, tablets and desktops.

Users can make voice calls to anyone in the world or chat with family and friends on an HD video call. The users can send instant messages to friends and enjoy group chats with up to 200 contacts.

Once activated, the two-week free period starts immediately and the users won't be charged during this period.

BOTIM and C'Me

Service providers, du and Etisalat have both listed VoIP-based apps, Botim and C'Me as approved service on their websites.

Both the apps are available for a monthly fee of Dh50 and Dh100. Check out Etisalat's plans here and du's here.

Will Facebook's Portal and Portal+ be available in the UAE?
Portal and Portal+ are available now for pre-order in the US and will begin shipping in November.

Portal home comes for $199 (approximately Dh730) and Portal+ will cost $349 (approximately Dh1,281).

We checked their official website to see if the devices can be ordered from the UAE. But unfortunately, it is available for shipping only in the US for now.

Know more about Portal and Portal+
The video chat speakers come with Smart Camera and Smart Sound technology.

Smart Camera stays with the action and automatically pans and zooms to keep everyone in view.

Smart Sound minimises background noise and enhances the voice of whoever is talking, no matter where they move.

"You can call Facebook friends and connections on Messenger even if they don't have Portal. Calls can be made to and from Messenger-enabled smartphones and tablets. Portal supports group calls of up to seven people at the same time," said the social media platform.

Portal offers hands-free voice control. You can start a video call simply by saying 'Hey Portal' and noting who you'd like to call.

Portal also comes with Amazon Alexa built in.

Portal and Portal+ also come with a camera cover, so users can block camera's lens at any time and still receive incoming calls and notifications, including using voice commands.

"To manage Portal access within your home, you can set a four- to 12-digit passcode to keep the screen locked. Changing the passcode requires your Facebook password," the statement said.

When people are not on a call, Portal's "Superframe" can display favourite photos and videos and important notifications like birthday reminders.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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