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Mini Home and the Evolution of Voice First Devices

Tomorrow, Google will likely announce a mini Home, it’s answer to the Echo Dot. What we’re likely going to see is an evolutionary path for all new form factor / new interface devices.

First, you have the device. It does something that’s revolutionarily different, e.g. WiFi lightbulb or plug. This opens the door for all sorts of interesting and new applications. The next device in the family makes it easier to connect more devices to do the same thing, for less cost or energy. This could be the hub or a device that can both do what its intended as well as enable similar less costly versions of itself.

When we envisioned the roadmap for the Ubi, we were thinking about mother-child versions of the device and eventually an API to enable third party devices to have voice interaction.

To steal from Kevin Kelly’s book What Technology Wants, certain technologies will follow an evolution path. In our case, and the case with most voice first devices, is to create a main version, a lower cost version, extend the service to third party devices, and allow for other services to access the main service through an API similar to app store. For Amazon, it was the Echo Dot, AVS, and ASK. For Google, it’s whatever might come out tomorrow, Google Assistant, and Actions on Google. Bixby might have a Bixby API and Bixby Store (and be in third party speakers). Cortana is now part of embedded Windows devices.

Eventually, we’ll have two or three dominating services in each market but they’ll have similar anatomies.

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