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The Ubi was originally designed to fit at a socket level. The initial design was a little big for a power outlet and it took a few iterations to make it fit in better (we also added a foam backing to help give it support from the wall). However, as a concept, it made sense to have it in a socket. There were then no requirements for wires and wall sockets are ubiquitous. In the kitchen, where handsfree interaction makes a lot of sense, there are usually sockets close to mouth level.

The full size Amazon Echo also meets this requirement when in the kitchen — from the countertop, it protrudes about a foot upwards, getting closer to mouth level.

A few Amazon sellers have seen the merit in reducing wires and getting the Echo Dot to be pluggable into a socket. Here are some versions of Echo Dot plug holders:

Some words for consumers from our experience:

  • The ability of a socket to carry weight varies quite a bit. Loose sockets sink Echos.
  • Wall sockets are valuable real estate. Better to get an outlet multiplier and an extension cord.
  • The microphone array and its DSP is designed to be parallel to the ground. The directionality and far field capability of the device will be affected if you’re speaking towards the top.
  • As with cellphone cases, there’s likely to be a wide range of quality among some of the builds.

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Independent daily thoughts on all things future, voice technologies and AI. More at http://linkedin.com/in/grebler

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