Facebook’s Portal TV now lets you sing on an augmented reality stage while wearing AR to look like an ’80s rock star, hippie, or punk rocker in one of several feature upgrades announced today.
Facebook Messenger video calls with the new Mic Drop feature let you sing up to 90-second clips with songs like “Roar” from Katy Perry and “Viva La Vida” from Coldplay, as well as music from Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi, and Backstreet Boys. Part of your karaoke performance can then be shared in a GIF.
Facebook’s Portal TV for video calls, second-generation Portal, and Portal Mini with Amazon’s Alexa hit the market for the first time this fall.
Also new: Watch Together is now available for all Portal devices. The feature allows you to watch videos while on video calls and was initially only available for Portal TV. Don’t get too excited though: Watch Together still only works for Facebook Watch videos.
Portal TV can also now share photos and videos shot with the camera to friends on Facebook Messenger.
Starting today, all Portal devices can also stream Facebook Live video to followers, a bonus for the world’s influencers and small business owners interested in one-to-many communication.
And Story Time augmented reality tales for kids in video calls got new content from Pete the Cat, Little Red Riding Hood, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Finally, Portal owners can now log into Portal devices with a WhatsApp account instead of Facebook Messenger. WhatsApp for Web on Portal devices was also released this fall. Use of WhatsApp alone removes virtually all augmented reality and in-call experiences.
Today’s updates come ahead of the holiday season, one of the biggest times of year for smart speaker and smart display sales.
Facebook also delivered major upgrades for Portal smart displays about a year ago, including a web browser, Instant Games, and the ability to pick who you want the camera to follow during a video call.
Google made upgrades to Google Nest smart displays last week, like the ability to create lists with third-party apps and search for podcasts by topic.