Since 2004, Facebook has argued that he wants the people on the earth were closer to each other. To achieve this goal, the company has relied largely on applications for web and smartphones. But software alone is not enough. On Monday Facebook introduced a few devices for video calling Portal and Portal Plus is to expand its influence in the living rooms of people. Portal and Portal Plus with 12-megapixel cameras and artificial intelligence can be used for video chatting.
Camera that works with the help of AI algorithms, monitors the movements of the user, allowing him to communicate without any hesitation. The device also includes Alexa from Amazon, which can find out the weather or to pull up the tune.the
Portal with 10-inch screen will sell for $ 199 and the other model with the 15-inch swivel screen — $ 349. Facebook plans to offer the device on a separate website and will deploy rapid marketing campaign.
These devices — the first serious attempt to break into a Facebook design, creation and sale of custom hardware from scratch. If "Portals" are successful, the company will be able to get more people to use its social network on a regular basis, so they can communicate with friends and family, as well as apps like Spotify and Pandora.
And yet, this is the worst time Facebook could not choose. After two years of scandals it is advertising Portal and Portal Plus tuned skeptical public. Last year, the company told about the breach in the security system, which was compromised of at least 50 million custom uchetok, and with them the chain and numerous third-party applications.
To solve the problems of privacy in Portal and Portal Plus, Facebook said that the products include an electronic switch for the front camera, as well as coverage for lenses. In addition, encrypted video calls, and artificial intelligence camera works on the device itself, not on Facebook server.
The Company said that the usefulness of the devices running on your home Wi-Fi connection, will convince people of the importance of their presence in the house. Devices built on the platform of Facebook Messenger and communication software attached to the network users of Facebook. As soon as the Portal connects to the account Messenger, people can call each other with video chat with anyone, be it a Portal, tablet, smartphone or computer.
"All this for the sake of unification of people," said Dave Kaufman, a leader in the marketing of the product.
Facebook is entering in a highly competitive market. Voice controlled smart speakers that are embodied in a separate category, due to the Echo from Amazon, presented in 2015, while a small market, but growing. In the last quarter, manufacturers shipped 16.8 million smart speakers (which is 187% higher than in the same period of the previous year). Amazon and Google dominate the market of smart speakers in the United States. In China, Alibaba and Xiaomi are rapidly gaining momentum.
Over the past two years smart speakers evolved and began to incorporate screens for video-conferencing, and video applications. Last year, Amazon introduced the Echo Show, his first Echo with the display, and Lenovo have teamed up to Google this year to create a smart screen on the basis of Google Assistant. Google also needs to introduce its own smart screen this year.
Instead of having to create your own virtual assistant three years after the debut of Alexa, Facebook has teamed up with Amazon. Like other products based on ideas Amazon, "Portal" can be controlled by the word 'Alexa'.
Previously, Facebook is already engaged in the hardware, but in the case of Portal deeper and further. In 2013, the company has worked with HTC on the HTC First smartphones based on Facebook. Was zilch.
The Company also sells virtual reality glasses created by Oculus. Oculus was acquired by Facebook in 2014.
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