It’s easy to forget how far technology has come in just a few years. We went from praying that our CD players wouldn’t skip to streaming music wirelessly to wearing AirPods in our ears. But even some recent devices have made the jump from high-end items for tech enthusiasts to must-haves for many homes. Here are a few of them.
The assistant we didn’t ask for, but can’t live without
“Weird.” “Curious.” “Baffling.” “Quite Stupid.” These words all once described Alexa, the voice-activated digital assistant on Amazon’s Echo device. But Amazon says the Echo Dot, a smaller, less expensive version of the Echo, was its “top-selling device” during the holiday season.
In 2014, it was odd to even consider owning an Echo — and impossible to buy without an invitation from Amazon. Today, you can pick from five Echo models. Or, you can try Google’s version: the Google Home, Google Home Mini or Google Home Max. Apple has also released a digital assistant device, the HomePod, which is fully capable with Siri. You can have your pick of digital assistants — each with varying capabilities of improving your life.
Alexa now has more than 15,000 skills, meaning any Echo device can go beyond describing the weather or playing music. The Google Assistant, first released in 2016, is catching up.