Facebook takes on Amazon and Google with the more compact Portal Go

Facebook takes on Amazon and Google with the more compact Portal Go

Facebook yesterday introduced two new smart displays — the Portal Go and Portal+ — in a fresh attempt to take on Google’s Nest Hub and Amazon’s Echo Show lineup of smart displays.

The Portal Go is the first compact smart display in the Portal series. The main sales pitch of the device is portability; it doesn’t need to be attached to a wall socket as it has a built-in battery. Facebook says this gives users greater flexibility and “lets conversations move from room to room.” The Portal Go comes equipped with a 10-inch display, 12MP ultra-wide camera for video calling, and two front-firing speakers for “room-filling sound.” In terms of battery life, Facebook claims it lasts for up to five hours of standard usage and up to 14 hours of music playback on a single charge.

Facebook's Portal Go smart display sitting on a table with the screen showing an on-going video call

The new Portal+, on the other, is a refreshed model. The new version features a 14-inch tiltable display coupled with a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera and stereo speakers. The new model gets rid of the swivel display that allowed the user to rotate the display from portrait to landscape mode. However, it retains the physical shutter that lets you cover the camera. Facebook says the display is large enough that you can view up to 25 people at once on a Zoom call.

Facebook's Portal+ smart screen displaying an on-going video call

In addition to their video calling capabilities, both devices support music streaming from Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, etc., and can display photos from your Facebook, Instagram, or camera roll.

The Portal Go and Portal+ run Android-based software with a big emphasis on the video calling experience. They also offer deep integration with Facebook’s own services, such as Messenger and WhatsApp. Facebook says it plans to add support for Microsoft Teams for all current and newly announced Portal devices in December.

Alongside new hardware, Facebook also announced Portal for Business, a new service that allows small businesses to quickly deploy Portal devices and leverage Portal’s video calling and collaboration tools. The service is currently in closed beta in the U.S.

The Portal Go and Portal+ will go on sale starting October 19 at the respective prices of $199 and $349. Both devices are available for pre-order today. You can compare all products in the lineup here.

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Kishan Vyas
Kishan Vyas

A loyal Android user since Android 2.1 Eclair. Direct inquiries to [email protected]