The smart displays category is witnessing some intense competition by the day. And Facebook isn’t one to shy away from a challenge, having been preparing its device ‘Portal TV’ to take the industry by storm. Today, the company has announced some very exciting ‘pandemic style’ updates to its device to better capture the growing market.
Starting today, all Portal devices will receive an update to include the most popular OTT platform, Netflix. It will be available in all the countries where Portal is sold, i.e. Australia, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The inclusion of Netflix expands Facebook Portal’s streaming services offerings that already include Amazon Prime Video, Showtime and Sling TV. Now it can equally compete with Google’s Nest Hub Max and Amazon’s Echo Show, which already have Netflix on their respective platforms.
In addition to this, Facebook has unveiled a new remote for Portal TV that will come with dedicated buttons to directly access Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Facebook Watch. The new remote will be shipped with new Portal devices and will be available in stores very soon.
Moreover, conforming to Zoom’s announcement in August that the platform will be available on smart displays such as Nest Hub, Echo Show and Portal, Facebook has finally brought the feature to its Portal TV. Zoom will be available on Portal Mini, Portal and Portal+ and in all regions where the device is sold.
“Together, Portal and Zoom create an immersive calling experience that can go from powering your workday to connecting you with family and friends, with one dedicated device. Portal’s big-screen frees up your laptop so you can stay productive, while the AI-powered Smart Camera makes work and personal communication effortless by always keeping you in the frame,” said Micah Collins, Director of Portal Product Management at Facebook.
Portal users can host a Zoom meeting with upto 25 participants on-screen. The device’s high-fidelity sound and AI-powered Smart Camera will also help support quality experience during Zoom meetings.
Moreover, Facebook has also extended its language support for the ‘Hey Portal’ command, adding Spanish in the mix. The company said that it’ll add more languages in the future but did not mention which ones.
Augmented Reality on Portal TV is getting a facelift as well. Users can now control the AR effects in Photo Booth using their voice too, which will save tons of time for them. Facebook will also allow users to use the ‘Hey Portal’ for taking pictures and videos with AR effects and further send it to friends or family.
Lastly, Facebook has brought new additions to its Story Time Library. New stories include Thank You, Omu!, A Kids Book About Belonging, and Grandma’s Purse. Dr. Seuss stories such as the Hop on Pop, Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, The Foot Book, and There’s a Wocket in my Pocket, will now come with added AR effects.
These new upgrades do look promising for Facebook to put up a good fight in the smart display market. During a time like the pandemic when theatres are shut down and people have no choice but to watch movies and shows from their comfort of home, these upgrades to Facebook’s Portal TV might help a lot in increasing its user base.