Brothers in Tech: Digital Assistants – Deep Dive #1: Hardware
In the first deep dive of the Digital Assistant topic, the Brothers discuss a number of hardware options for accessing your digital assistant, including:
Your phone! There is an app for each of the digital assistant technologies that will allow you to test out the technology: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri (built-in to apple phones only)
Amazon Echo: Various options, relatively inexpensive. Examples:
Echo Dot (3rd Gen, as of podcast recording): small, inexpensive ($49..but often on sale), weak sound (only for small room music)
Echo (3rd Gen, as of podcast recording): mid-size, decently priced ($99), decent sound
Echo Show (see BiT below)
Google (“Hey Google”): Limited line-up, but great options for those that are deep in the Google ecosystem
Home Mini: small, inexpensive ($49…but often on sale), weak sound (only for small room music)
Home: mid-size, decently priced ($99), decent sound
Home Max: larger, expensive ($299), very good sound
Apple (“Hey Siri”): Great for those in the Apple ecosystem
HomePod: mid-large size, expensive ($299), great sound
CarPlay: Allow your car stereo to utilize Siri in your car (through your phone). Available in select factory and aftermarket stereo systems.
Sonos: For the audiophile…full home sound system that can tap into a digital assistant.
Once you have decided what digital assistant you are most comfortable with (1st episode advice), now you need to determine whether you want great sound that can tap into that assistant…or have access to the assistant with minimal sound. Each ecosystem now has options for the sound level you are looking for.
In addition, the “BiTS” (Brothers in Tech Suggestions):
Brian’s Pick = Amazon Echo Show: Although setting cooking timers with your voice is great when your hands are busy, it can be really helpful to be able to see how much time is left! Although a bit pricey for what it can do, the Show is a solid device for those situations. **There are several versions of this (version 8 is the newest as of this podcast), so be sure to compare features/cost as an earlier version might work just fine for you.
Alan’s Pick = Apple Airport Express: Although this product is not being manufactured/sold anymore (hence the Wikipedia link), this could be a great option for streaming music to an otherwise non-internet connected speaker…if you have or can find one. The Express can act as a wifi extender (to boost your wifi signal), as well as allow you to stream music to a speaker connected to it (via 3.5 mm headphone jack). Note: Apple does not support these devices anymore (at least the earliest version), so you may have to do a bit of software tinkering to set-up.
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