In terms of pushing ubiquity of voice-first devices, Amazon has invested significantly and likely much more than any other competitor over the past decade. One of these pushes was in the form of the Echo Dot, that drove the price of first party Amazon hardware with voice interaction to incredibly low pricepoints — sometimes, on sale, we saw them under $20 , sometimes even lowet in bundles.
The idea of the Echo Dot was to drive to the point where you could put an Echo device in every room. Now, it’s being surpassed in dottiness by the Echo Pop. Today, you could pick one up on Amazon for under $18:
Being without a voice device for the past few weeks, I’ve missed being able to ask for music and have it play. My family has missed timers for cooking and asking questions. While of course I’m a huge proponent of voice-first devices, it’s still nice to know that these devices are missed when they’re gone.
At $18, a high quality voice device is affordable to almost anyone in North America. With the addition of large language-model based services behind high quality speech recognition, it means that access to ubiquitous intelligence augmentation (another Brian Roemmele term I’m borrowing), is easier. How easy can it get?
We’re yet to see a completely free device but even more capability hardware is likely to continue to be released over the next few years. That might help sustain and increase a bit the use of voice in the home as earlier generations of hardware start to fail.