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Facebook shares open lower; Unveils new smart speaker

Ilona Billington
  • October 8th 2018, 14:21
  • Last Updated: October 17th 2019, 10:58

Facebook shares opened lower Monday, as the social media platform unveiled its latest tech, a smart speaker and video call screen, Portal. The device has been designed to ensure Messenger face time calls are clearer both to hear and see.

Facebook shares opened 1.21% lower at $155.42. The stock ended the US Friday trading session in the red, too and has been mainly lower in recent weeks.

Facebook’s Portal

Facebook announced Monday, its newest tech hardware. Portal is a smart speaker with a video touchscreen that allows users to video call any of its Messenger contacts. It also works with Amazon’s Alexa to respond to voice queries and commands.

“Today, we’re excited to announce Portal and Portal+, two new video communication devices for the home that dramatically change the way we keep in touch,” the tech giant said. “Thanks to AI technology, Portal makes video calling easier and more like hanging out, while a widescreen display lets you enjoy every moment together.”

The two versions of Portal are available for pre-order in the US, for delivery in November. The tech is designed to keep the users in focus as they move around, helping to enhance a video call between friends and family.

Facebook’s latest tech also allows you to conference with up to seven participants at once.

Security features

The timing of the Portal release may not be the greatest for Facebook, coming just a week or so after it confirmed a security breach of 50 million user accounts on its social media platform.

However, Portal has been built with security very much in mind. The camera and microphone can be 100% disabled with a single tap. And, all calls are encrypted.

Facebook adds that it won’t ever listen to, or view, any calls you make on your Portal device. It doesn’t use facial recognition and is run on your local Portal server, not on an isolate, Facebook one.

About the author

Ilona Billington
Ilona is a freelance writer and editor with over 15 years experience reporting and writing about UK and European economics, real estate, financial markets and central banks.

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