The Evolution of Smart Speakers

The concept for smartphones has been around since the 1970’s and IMB created an all in one product called the Simon Personal Computer. In 1992 they were the first to actually build a touchscreen phone with integrated features we use on computers like email and web browsing. Nokia released a two smartphones in 1995 and 1996 before the word coined by Ericcson in 1997. Most were reminiscent of the bulky heavy mobile devices first seen when phones became something you carried around. Sure they could fit in your pocket, but generally they would make your pants fall down.

Now, in 2018 most people are comfortable with our iPhones, Samsung’s and Google smartphones. Anyone who loves tech, owns one and most will pay-through-the-nose to get the latest version.

I was already impressed with Siri, being a fan of iPhone have a mostly good working relationship with her. But what next? While I was busy being impressed by smartphones, Amazon and Google introduced Smart Speakers.

Since smart speakers initial release in 2014, they have already overtaken the voice recognition capabilities of poor old Siri. Amazon has Alexa and Google has Google Assistant. Being behind in technology trends costs less than paying the newly released asking price. I recently acquired the base model, Echo Dot which is only $50 now (with discounts for buying more than 1) and the Echo only $99. To start your immersion into this new technology, I purchased some lighting accessories that allow you to tell Alexa to turn the light off in the bedroom and it didn’t set me back that much.
Apple has released details of their HomePod due for release any day now. To set them up will only need you to hold your phone next to it and it’s ready to go but the rest of the specifications sound already a little behind what I now have set up by way of voice recognition but I’m sure over time they will catch up.

The first thing I noticed was that Alexa is different. I feel like I should say please after a request. Unlike Siri, Alexa feels like you are actually engaging in a conversation where some days I find myself yelling because of Siri’s frustrating inability to understand.

Last night I got into bed and asked Alexa to “play the sound of a rainstorm for 15 minutes and turn off the light.”

What a world we live in. I can’t imagine what will come next.