Facebook announces portable Portal Go, Portal for Business
Facebook on Tuesday announced the $199 Portal Go, a portable version of its video-calling device.
Courtesy of Facebook
Facebook unveiled Tuesday the third generation of its Portal video-calling devices and a new service that will allow businesses to deploy fleets of the devices to their employees.
Facebook’s belief in video-calling screens is not changing and it anticipates that people will continue to video chat. It first introduced its Portal devices in 2018. The company has yet to release sales numbers. Facebook sees the need to be able to communicate with loved ones and colleagues via video calling, even though companies are still delaying returning to work. It competes against Amazon‘s Echo Show and Google‘s Nest Hub products in the home.
The Portal Go is a $199 model that features a 10-inch display and can be removed from its charging station for easy use in the home. Portal Go has a convenient carrying handle. It also comes with enough power to allow for five hours of Messenger calls and 14 hours of listening while the screen is off.
Facebook has also revealed a new Portal+ model, retailing at $349. This version features a large 14-inch screen that can tilt forward or backward. Portal+’s new version was created to be used alongside users’ desktops to make video calls. Facebook claimed that it is better than the original version.
The newer models cost more. While the current Portal 10-inch model is $179, the Portal+ version was $279. According to Micah Collins, Facebook’s head for product management, these devices will likely see a reduction in their promotional prices later in the year.
Portal+ and other Portal+ devices will allow users to use Microsoft Teams.
Courtesy of Facebook
The third-generation Portals are available for pre-order starting Tuesday and will begin shipping to customers on Oct. 19.
Facebook also announced Portal for Business as a new service for small- and medium-sized businesses. This will enable them to remotely deploy, purchase and manage Portal devices for employees. Collins explained to CNBC that Facebook saw the need for such a service, as more businesses shift to hybrid and remote setups. Collins stated that Portal for Business is available in beta in the U.S. this year and will be made more accessible next year.
He said that Portal is very useful considering the video connections we need to work, and this trend won’t go away.
In another effort to cater to professionals, Facebook will add Microsoft’s Teams work to Portal in December. Portal users will now be able access their Teams calendars and contacts via their smartphones. File sharing, chat, and file sharing can all be done through their Portal devices. Portal already supports other work apps like Zoom, BlueJeans and Webex.