It's yet another SV bubble "innovation" that's only useful on the west coast.
It's not going to work in half the world for half of the year. Winter. Pockets. Gloves.
See also: Apple EarPods, with the cords that get brittle in cold weather and become useless tangles that fly up in your face.
See also: Every iPhone I've ever owned which has gone into emergency thermal shutdown just because I dared to use it in Arizona or Nevada.
Even in cold countries we spend ~90% of our time inside and much of the ~10% outside in decent weather. The average American spends 7% of their day outside with some obvious outliers push that upwards. The world average is 87% inside. 
Plenty of products are only used a few times a day. I don't think the downtime spent walking around outside shopping or commuting is the killer.
The question is are there enough of those uses to justify wearing it all the time. Not if it works in 100% of situations.
That's more than 2/3 the population of France, 3/5 the population of Germany, and 1/6 the population of the US.
Apple earbuds may not work great around the world but it's decent product for those 50 million people, and based on social media appears to work well for other people in similarly temperate climates, like southern Europe, Australia, etc.
I suspect this is just a kludgy initial version of some future thing that could eventually become really popular.
Why does it have to look cool? I want an assistant/gadget whatever that goes out of the way and that I don't have to think about. Ideally it would be invisible, weightless and require no maintenance or charging.
you know - who is out there saying - what i am missing in my life is a really ugly ring, that i have to charge daily.
So compared to for example Apple, they are taking a different approach with this product.
Or even Google... like with their Google Glasses.
This is actually a pretty clever way to get early feedback on new ideas.
And the people who say "you have to pay for this stuff". Um yeah, that is the point. If nobody buys it.... maybe that is a clue there is no market for the idea (at least at that price point).
Neat! Too bad the discussion is about this particular device and not the actual program itself...
Kind of the point. If people aren't willing to part with their hard earned dollars for the device, maybe it won't be a market success and they should stop investing in it?
No one is being made to do anything.
It's what happens when a company has so much money it can make things without doing any actual market research.
"More dollars than sense" is the appropriate expression.
Amazon is testing the waters for Alexa-integrated wearables. Not just earbuds, which are a saturated market, but other wearables like rings and frames.
If it does, the potential upside is huge--they could create an entire new market, like they did with the original Echo and Kindle. If not, it's a rounding error in an immaterial account on the financials.
Producing a new device, throwing it up on their website to sell, and seeing how well it does is Amazon's version of market research. It's "move fast and break things" brought into the hardware space. They actually even say as much in their description of the "Day 1 Editions" program, of which the Echo Loop is part of.
In this case, Amazon is exhibiting not being afraid of releasing a possibly unsuccessful product, because they know they can iterate on it (or pivot, or exit entirely) later on.
I think that Voice Assistants will always be a feature, though, and not a product. And as a feature, first-party ones will always have an inherent advantage.
Especially with this event, it seems that Amazon is going with a feature and trying to back into products, which to me seems like the opposite way to approach a market.
I find voice assistants to be of very limited use to me. Generally, I prefer typing, because it's just faster. When I find myself needing a voice assistant, it's because I'm: 1) not near enough a keyboard, and/or 2) using my hands for something else, namely cooking or driving. Back when I had Echo Dot, it wasn't really useful for cooking, other than setting timers. And, of course, I couldn't take it with me in my car. I don't know if they made it more useful in the last couple of years.
I think voice assistants could be extremely useful, but they're being hampered by their creators' ambition. Every single voice assistant I've seen is trying too hard to be "everything you'll ever need", so it could dominate the market.
I had hopes for Mycroft II, because it promised to be an open source solution on par with other voice assistants. It turned to be a typical Kickstarter horror story: overpromised and not yet delivered.
Music is usually controlled with our phones or computers, casted to the HomePods.
- I use mine exclusively for music.
- My mom uses hers for a mix of home automation and music, but seems to be heavier toward the latter. Sometimes she'll play Jeopardy with it.
- My grandparents use theirs exclusively for home automation.
I have a mantle clock for that. Every 30 minutes a gentle chime drifts through the house, keeping everyone on time. No charging. No shouting. No telemetry. No privacy invasion involved.
Best $7 I've spent in a long time.
Plus, it's so far superior to a clock in that I can get in bed and say "Set alarm for 6.30" or "Wake me up in 9 hours" or whatever I want and I can snooze it from bed or stop the alarm without needing to find a button.
Win the interface (Voice Assistant) battle and your have a massive advantage in the services that will just work compared to services that take some hacking about. Want to play Amazon music upon alexa - done, want to play Google Play Music using Alexa - let me write some code, setup a service.....effort. Most users want simple, easy, just works and if they can win that battle, then that is a far bigger market than mobiles. Bit like - why focus on selling a form of car when we can sell fuel to all the cars and they want to win that market.
Maybe the whole Voice Assistant market may go like the whole VHS/Betamax market did, cheap, works and may be better offerings but market saturations wins in the end.
I hate smart watches cause I wear a normal watch, you know, something i never have to charge and is always on, amazing concept and I don't want to constantly be pulling out my phone, I prefer to keep it in a bag. This kind of gets that middle ground of answering quick one off questions (which I use my Google Home for now, but not out and about) as well as add to-dos and other things. Connecting this with Ifttt can probably do other cool stuff to.
Though, this is not a mass market need, it just happens to fill my specific need.
On the other hand, 16 year old me would have loved this. This is the pervasive computing of sci-fi made real. All information is just a tap away. Control lights or run a compute job using a custom Alexa Skill.
(Granted I wouldn't wear this for privacy reasons, but I really dislike wearing watches)
Good for Amazon for trying something new and having the resources to experiment with a new form factor. I have no idea of a ring with a voice interface will stand the test of time but I would like to know if it has any merit.
Being able to query google from a ring is attractive to me.
I am surprised by the fact the speaker is in the ring, but it means you can potentially receive “private” information from the ring without other hearing.
I imagine people whispering to their rings in the bus. I think the hand motion you have to do from speaking to listening might make you look like a fool (google glass)
Too bad it looks to be UK only.
- Turn on/off the lights
- What time is it?
- What's the weather (today, this week)?
Literally that's all I've done since the thing came out. I find other interaction patterns to be inferior to just waiting to use by phone.
I hate using Alexa as a speaker since my Sonos system is far better than even the top tier Alexa hardware, and I want to use non-Amazon music services anyway. Alexa really wants to play music though as it frequently misunderstands me and tries its best to get me to like it. I wish I could disable music outright, but the product people at Amazon will never allow it.
Alexa is such a toy. It'll never be much else despite Amazon trying their damnedest. It gets things wrong frequently and isn't really life changing. They missed the smartphone boat and this will be their second fiddle.
Been looking to try some new IoT stuff.
All that is missing is an Amazon Echo Loop Nose Edition. Bear with me...
It's mounted right above your mouth, so you never have to raise your hand to your face - pfft, how exhausting right? You tap it with your tongue to activate (if you're flexible enough). And, it just vibrates, making your nose itch, when you have a notification.
To charge it, along with your ring, eyeglasses, ear pods, watch, phone, laptop, and smart socks, you will need another usb port. But luckily, you can charge this one in your sleep. Just mount the magnetic charger right to your face. So convenient! Battery lasts all day! (6 hours)