That Facebook, Amazon and Google’s smart display partners all ended up at a similar place is no coincidence, of course. Like those smart displays, the home teleconferencing device is essentially a propped up tablet. With Portal, however, the system takes two distinct form factors.
There’s the standard Portal, which looks quite a bit like Lenovo’s recently released Google Assistant Smart Display, and the more compelling Portal Plus. That larger model, with a 15 inch display (1920 x 1080) brings to mind recent enterprise attempts at telepresence robotics. The base is stationary here, but the display orientation can be swiveled into landscape or portrait mode.
What’s most remarkable, of course, is that this is the first true Facebook-produced piece of consumer electronics. It was never really a question of whether Facebook would create its own hardware — it was more a question of when, and what shape it would take. Unlike feeds, text chats and likes, video is the first real aspect of the company’s social platform that can justify a standalone device.