What a lineup. This is the kind of product announcement worth attending an event for.
There is a lot of interesting and discreet innovation and some completely off the wall ideas. There is no doubt that Amazon considers the assistant market one worth fighting over.
Echo Dot with Clock
Aside from being cursed with the lowest priority when it came time to think of a name, this is surprisingly innovative.
Right now with personal assistants you can either have voice only, or a massive screen fused onto it. I like this push into having some visual text/number elements as well as the voice assistant. A nice middle ground I don’t see too many companies looking into. I hope to see more of this.
Not to be confused with Pixel Buds or AirPods or any of the other smart earphones out there. Interesting this is compatible with other smart assistants, clearly they want to get into your life and then win you over. A smart move and brave of them to not assume you want Alexa.
It’s an assistant that is a glowing blob which can be a nightlight. Just what I need in my home, more ominous glowing lights to remind me I am always being watched. If “with Clock” was bottom of the barrel when it came to names, this was the last pick for innovation. Did they need to present a set number of new products and panic they were one short? Just stick a lamp on it.
Bringing assistants to everyone, just plug it into a socket and it lives on the wall. The other IoT products announced make a lot more sense. This is a clear drive towards have your assistant everywhere. It’s not radical but nice to see Amazon thinking about other rooms in the house that you can put an assistant into. Speaking of keeping it everywhere.
Interesting to see how this goes given what happened with Google Glass. Glass had the issue of mixed reality and an always on camera, so a comparison isn’t completely fair but everyone is going to put the two side by side. An interesting solution, will they take this down the B2B route like Google, or do they hope this will be the new trend? Seems to be competing with the earbud market, unless they see the vision impaired as a prime market for needing an assistant without earbuds?
It’s a joke isn’t it? It has to be. Someone snuck this into the presentation and they were too embarrassed to admit it. Made for quick questions and quick calls? I guess it’s a way to live my fantasy of being a secret agent and talking into a closed fist while I rush through the underground.
Eero mesh Wi-Fi router
This is a growing market and one to keep your eye on. Mesh WiFi means you connect to multiple routers but it’s treated as one connection, you can move around seamlessly. As the IoT landscape grows we need more reliable ways to stay connected and across larger spaces. As the airways become more crowded it will be important to boost and control your signal. Google has a few solutions in this space so it’s good to see more competition.
I’ve been told if I ever buy a smart oven my girlfriend will marry and then divorce me to make a point. Smart home appliances aren’t new but everyone wants a taste. If there was anything that made me think “wait and see” it’s these smart appliances. The idea of using an app or assistant to start or monitor cooking/baking/boiling etc is great but cost prohibitive right now. I feel this is still limited by the WiFi mesh and ensuring a reliable connection.
Alexa as Samuel L. Jackson
No word on if the new voice also includes his catch phrase. It’ll make talking into my Echo Loop to pre-heat my oven more exciting. Getting celebrity voices isn’t anything new in the assistant world, SatNavs have been doing this for years. However this creates some new opportunities. Amazon via AWS lets you create your own assistants and tools. Having a library of different voices makes this more attractive for developers as well as users.
Really the next step for assistants will be setting the personality, not just the voice. Right now a developer creates a set library of responses and the assistant reads it out. Mixing and matching the library of responses with the voice will create an interest proposition. It may sound like a gimmick but that could be the tipping point for introducing people to assistants, it’s one they “get on with”.
This is the cherry on the IoT cake. This is a great market to get into early. Define the language and protocols and allow people to build against your specification. A real chance to be a dominate first mover and to create a standard in an otherwise wild wasteland.
If Amazon can nail the “how” around the IoTs, other firms can worry about the “why”.
All in All
A really strong product line up and announcement. Some exciting stuff there. Amazon has a lot of difference baskets, filled with strange glowing and talking eggs, and it feels somewhere between “brave and forward thinking” and “see what sticks”. I always welcome innovation and competition, hopefully other brands show up to take the fight back against Amazon.
Will you be able to talk into your hand to find out the latest ranks for UK consumer goods from Genuine Impact? Never say never.