Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Adoption of Smart Speakers... fast followers

"Fast followers" is an important concept when watching consumer electronics.

New products happen usually this way: Someone sticks their neck out and takes a chance...

...the herd watches to see if the pioneer thrives... or is eaten by predators... or falls off a cliff...

... if the pioneer thrives, the rest of the herd follows in a stampede.

This happened with cell phones, personal computers, smart phones & tablet computers. (The first smart screens) and with Smart speakers

Check out "Smart Speakers."

Release dateNovember 6, 2014

Amazon had been developing Echo devices inside its Lab126 offices in Silicon Valley and Cambridge, Massachusetts since at least 2010 in confirmed reports. The device was part of Amazon’s first attempts to expand its device portfolio beyond the Kindle e-reader.[3] The Echo was prominently featured in Amazon's first-ever Super Bowl ad in 2016.[4]

Google Home is a brand of smart speakers developed by Google. The first device was announced in May 2016 and released in the United States in November 2016, with subsequent releases globally throughout 2017.

Now, there are 107 Smart Speakers in Consumer Reports List

A quick trip down memory land for "tablet computers." Do you remember the "Grid Pad?" Palm Pilot? Apple Newton? Pocket PC? All these runs at it since the late 1980's and early 1990's before the concept finally got traction -- when the technology was good enough to inspire mass adoption.  Early Tablet Computers 

With the iPad it passed the "anyone can use it" threshold.


We have had the first SMART Screens. They are tablet computers. We have had the first smart speakers (voice activated personal assistants.)

Combining the technology -- the adoption rate of this is going to be very rapid. It takes something we're used to, (Tablet computers) and combines it with something most of us are getting used to (Smart speakers) to increase the utility dramatically.

Google has telegraphed that "smart screens" are coming. With the smart speaker combined with a screen and voice activation.  

Some of their partners in this are also partners with MicroVision. (Goertek and particularly RockChip -- here) Yes, on the WPG Holdings list of "hottest" items is a MicroVision projector engine combined with the RockChip processor dedicated to voice recognition. (Unfortunately, they close their site for Chinese New year. 

Over the weekend I met someone who carries a Motorola phone with the projector mod. She loves it, uses it at work(for work) and at home and while out and about.

However it's use case is a lot like an early tablet computer. It's not convenient technology. It's power hungry, not very bright, and requires playing with a particularly finicky (technical term!) focus wheel. It's not convenient and easy for just anyone to use. 

Projection in smartphones has now reached that all-important threshold. Ragentek has the "anyone can use it" projector smartphone.

...and a lot of interest in lasers... by some companies playing with near-eye displays.

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