Facebook will launch a portable version of the portal’s video chat device | Tech News

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

The social media company also said it was testing a service with several US companies that allows businesses to remotely manage the portal’s work accounts and devices.

Facebook did not provide specific Portal sales figures, but a spokeswoman said there has been an increase in sales and usage during the COVID-19 pandemic, which many companies switched to remote work and more people stayed at home under lockdown measures. Facebook makes the vast majority of its money from digital ads.

The company, which has come under scrutiny from global regulators and lawmakers due to its approach to user safety, privacy and the content of its services, has launched its first line of portals in 2018. Smart screen devices, one of Facebook’s forays into selling hardware, let users make video calls, with cameras automatically following users around a room.

Updates to the new models announced on Tuesday included a “home 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 portable Portal Go will cost $199 and the large-screen Portal+, the latest generation of the product, will cost $349. Both will begin 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 attributes mostly to sales of its Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headsets. Facebook launched a trial of a remote work app last month. VR where Quest 2 users can host meetings as avatar versions of themselves.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in London; Editing by David Gregorio)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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