Facebook launches portable version of Portal video chat device

September 21 (Reuters) – Facebook (FB.O) on Tuesday announced two new models of its Portal video calling devices, including its first portable version.

The social media company also said it is testing with several U.S. companies a service that allows businesses to remotely manage work accounts and portal devices.

Facebook did not provide specific sales figures on Portal, but a spokesperson said there had been an increase in sales and usage during the COVID-19 pandemic, through which many businesses switched to remote work and more people remained at home under lockdown measures. Facebook derives the vast majority of its money from digital advertising.

The company, which is under intense scrutiny by regulators and lawmakers worldwide for its approach to user security, privacy and the content of its services, launched its first range of portals in 2018. Smart display devices, one of Facebook’s forays into hardware sales, allow users to make video calls, with cameras automatically tracking users around a room.

Updates to the new models announced on Tuesday included a “household mode”, allowing users to share a portal and control others’ access to their contacts and apps, and a way to watch TV through the product with others who do not use a Portal device. .

Facebook said the Portal Go laptop will cost $ 199 and the Portal + big screen, the latest generation of the product, will cost $ 349. Both will start shipping on October 19.

Facebook also announced that it will start adding support for Microsoft Teams in Portal in December.

The company reported $ 497 million in non-advertising revenue in the second quarter of 2021, which it attributed primarily to sales of its Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headsets. Last month, Facebook launched a test of a working app. Remote VR where Quest 2 users can host meetings as avatar versions of themselves. Read more

Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in London; Editing by David Gregorio

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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