Facebook's Portal video-calling devices to be sold internationally, get WhatsApp support

By Digit NewsDesk | Updated 1 May 2019
Facebook's Portal video-calling devices to be sold internationally, get WhatsApp support
  • Facebook's Portal devices to be sold in Canada and Europe soon
  • They will also get support for WhatsApp calls, which will be end-to-end encrypted
  • Facebook Portal and Portal+ was originally launched in the US in October last year

Facebook made a whole bunch of announcements last evening at its F8 developer conference in San Jose, California, including the much-rumoured integration of Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp messaging services. One of them is that the company’s “Portal” video-calling devices will be sold in Canada and Europe starting sometime later this year. In addition, the devices are expected to support WhatsApp calls, which means the calls will be end-to-end encrypted.

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The Mark Zuckerburg-led American social media company launched its Portal video-calling devices in the US in early October last year. At the time of launch, the Portal was priced at $199 (Rs 14,700 approx) and the Portal+ was priced at $349 (Rs 25,900 approx). The company also offered both devices as a bundled offer at $298 (Rs 22,000 approx). Facebook announced the Portal devices in a renewed effort to assure its customers of complete data privacy inside the Facebook world while calling and messaging.

A few months before launching the Portal devices, Facebook was in the soup for letting user data leak out of Facebook. More specifically, the company was involved in a major political scandal when everyone came to know of Cambridge Analytica’s secret harvesting of personal user data through Facebook. Since then, Facebook has been making an extra effort to reassure its customers of complete data privacy and security. “We know that privacy and security are important when you bring new technology into your home. That’s why we designed Portal with tools that give you control,” Facebook said at the time of the launch.

The camera and microphone on the two Portal devices can be disabled with the push of a hardware button on the body of the device. They also come with a camera cover for added privacy. While the Portal comes with a 10-inch 720p display, the Portal+ comes with a 15-inch Full HD display. According to Facebook, both devices feature Smart Camera, which focusses on the most appropriate subject in any video call scene. They also feature Amazon Alexa for voice command-based functions. There’s no information available yet on whether the two Portal devices will come to India.

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