The next big sound: speakers and headphones

After spending a few days in SF here is my aha for the non-digerati:

Amazon Echo is a big new thing. Everyone will copy it shortly (Google already, Apple is inevitable, Matt/Cisco and enterprise tech surely soon too).

Unlike glasses, this is already rolling. (Sorry Snapchat.)

2nd Order Matters:

1. Startups will have to use these as a platform or else go way higher end. Echo costs $50. How can you enter this category as a startup? But making apps for these “app stores” is dubious too, since “Hey Alexa” as the interface is not a discovery mechanism.

2. Headphones are a mini-Echo right? Apple’s new Airpods are basically Echo in your ear.

3. The Apple Watch is about to get REAL. It makes so much sense as a voice UI endpoint.

Ideas this spurs —

1. Wired-but-detachable headphones with batteries and on-board computing. Truly Echo meets Beats.

2. Light bulbs and smoke alarms and thermostats with onboard audio interface.

3. People sub-vocalize when they read or think (you can think of saying words and your speech system gets activated). There can be a silent version of Echo that you can wear.

4. Alexa tells jokes and kids love it / parents find it annoying. Apple’s Siri is rather wry and boring.

5. Personalities are apps for the platform. Many more cultural and personal styles will be needed. (Also – now that there are a few human-like UIs, the global diversity of people is going to start changing fast — TV created a few national accents and now Avatar UIs will create a few global personalities.)

6. Jobs of the future:
– personality designer
– avatar supervisor
– avatar training companion