Facebook Portal is one of those devices you forgot existed till 2 minutes ago. Today we’re reminded of that through a series of updates that bring new features to the device. The camera also gets a manual mode, used to chat with friends and relatives with the focus you want.
Facebook’s Portal and Portal+ are smart calling devices, that have been selling for a month now, but they’re already getting updated. These updates will bring you news content from ABC and CNN, while a new web browser will provide you access to Monday Night Football from ESPN, as well as YouTube and AllRecipes.com. There’s also the option of playing Facebook’s Instant Games, including the likes of Battleship, Disney’s Tsum Tsum and more.
There’s also the new holiday-focused “Story Time” titles, some of them for kids like “Cold Snap” and “Professor Right”. Then we have the Messenger AR effects pack, that now includes North Pole elves and more. They’re meant to add a sparkle to your video calls. Sharing music with others via iHeartRadio is also a thing, plus Spotify Premium and Pandora. The sharing is done during video calls.
Facebook is also improving the device itself, with a “Manual Mode” for the smart camera. This makes the camera focus where you want during calls, instead of letting the AI system pan the camera. I’ll remind you that the Portal is priced at $199 and the Portal+ at $349. Yes, I know people have privacy concerns, but Facebook swears there’s no need to worry.