A New Machine For Connecting The Whole Family
PSFK Writer Jiwon Kim tries out the Triby, the machine that kind-of could
Voice digital assistants are getting better and better. Thank goodness. Although personally, I only use Siri when I am bored and want my dad to try to say something (in his accent) to see what comes up for fun. However, I was a little intrigued a few weeks ago when I went a dinner party and Alexa changed the tunes for us while my friends were cooking. It was working fairly well. Hence, I was a excited when I was given the opportunity to try out Triby, a new type of smart device that also is powered by Alexa Voice Services.
The design itself is very simple. It is a small box with rounded corners and it is comprised of a relatively small screen with a few buttons. The buttons on top pause/stop any noise coming from the machine and also allows for volume control. The buttons in the front of the screen allow for easy access to your two favorite contacts and your two favorite stations. The rest of its exterior is comprised of speakers and they are surprisingly powerful. On the back is a giant magnet, which allows for Triby to be stuck on a refrigerator. It has a cool old-school look that still looks technologically appealing.
It’s interesting to see Alexa support move beyond the Amazon ecosystem of products, and certainly more examples of this will come. What we found to be the most interesting part is how it is an inter-generational machine. Triby allows for young children without the access to smartphones to call parents with the touch of a button. Contacts can be managed and programmed by the parents with the Triby app. Another cool feature is that the app allows you to create doodles and send messages through your phone. A nice yellow flag pops up when the machine receives a message so kids at home know if a parent will be a little late to dinner. Drawn images show up as well. Kids then have the opportunity to send emojis back as a response. Unfortunately, doodling on the machine itself is not an option.
All-in-all, the default role of Triby as it currently stands is as a digital message board, and the voice features could use some future tweaking. For example, you have to download both the Alexa app and the Triby app to get integration. However, Alexa is a cool function and giving younger generations the opportunity to connect to their parents with a touch of a button is a great function. As someone against smartphones for children, this is a useful way to keep in contact with kids at home without giving them an expensive phone. The idea is great but there are still a good number of tweaks needed before Triby delivers on all its promised functions.
Though $200 seems steep right now for a product that provides many features already found in a smartphone, it would make a perfect gift for a family with young kids.
Also, it’s great to see Alexa break out into a non-Amazon product, and it will be interesting to follow how the voice assistant finds its way into other parts of our lives. Currently we think of AI as tethered to a single device or location, but it’s not hard to imagine a future where a single AI can follow us between devices from the home, to work and everywhere in-between.