Facebook Launches Three New Portable Devices

A smaller version with 8-inch display, larger version with a 10-inch display and a screenless Portal device.

Facebook is trying to get into more homes by slashing the price of its gadgets. This time the company starts with the price and size of the Portal. This gadget is a screen and camera-equipped gadget used for making video calls with friends and family.

With the recent launch, the smaller version will now cost $129 which comes with an 8-inch display. The second one is a larger version with a 10-inch display which will cost $179. Apart from these two, a new screenless Portal device added to the list. This device can be attached to a television set which will be priced at $149.

The strange thing about this launch is that last year’s models were bigger and cost more. Previous models were priced at $199 for a 10.1 inch display and $349 for at 15.6 inch screen.

Facebook hasn’t released any official statement regarding the sales record about its Portal Devices. So, it remains unclear how many people want a Facebook-branded smart camera in their homes. However, It’s unknown how many people trust these devices given the company’s history of privacy problems.

In San Francisco this week Facebook executives unveiled the new gadgets. With the recent upgrade, Portal devices have been redesigned to fit inside home easily by designing it more like a picture frame.

This time these gadgets will work with WhatsApp to make video calls, in addition to Facebook’s Messenger app. The product is also launching in more countries and will now be able to stream Amazon Prime videos.

The service will not show ads, but “we are using Facebook’s infrastructure, so some data may inform ads on Facebook,” said Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, vice president of virtual reality and augmented reality. “But that’s not the point of it, it’s not something that is going to be material to Facebook.”

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For instance, if someone makes a lot of video calls on Portal, they might see ads for video calling devices elsewhere. But Facebook says it doesn’t use the content of the calls for ad targeting, though Bosworth declined to commit to never doing so in the future.

The Portal and the Portal Mini go on sale Oct. 15; the screenless version ships on Nov. 5.

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