What we are thinking about

*** See disclaimer below ***

One of the amazing things to watch with a new technology is how it can gobble up established, billion dollar industries without even trying.

The alarm clock market has been under attack since the emergence of cell phones, but has surprisingly held steady at around $250M per year in the United States. The always present and always plugged-in nature are the reasons Alarm Clocks remain a night stand fixture.

In May, I got tired of remembering to plug in my iPhone, and was trying to remove screens from my bedroom, hence was ready to go ‘old school’ and buy an alarm clock. I went on Amazon and got the Alarm Clock of my dreams.

Echo Dot eats Alarm Clock

 

For a mere $20, this clock was STACKED – FM Radio, Digital Face, AM Radio… did I mention FM Radio?

I was happy as a clam, until Jeff Bezos rocked my world.

Amazon re-released the Echo Dot in September, and it is a brilliant strategic move. It is almost like Jeff had a magic 8-ball that told him Google Home was going to be priced cheaper than the Echo, as announced on October 4. “Google, I see your $129 price tag, and ‘raise’ you $50.”

The Echo Dot is the perfect entry-level Voice-first device, will always be cheaper than Google Home, and is a great strategic move to fulfill Bezos’ ‘Alexa everywhere’ strategy.

We have been interviewing media execs for VoiceLabs, and in the past two weeks we are listening to Alexa anecdotes, only to find that people are buying Dots, not Echos, first. It has 100% of Alexa’s intelligence, 30% of Echo’s speaker, and a gorgeous price tag.

Great for consumers, great for Amazon, bad for my Alarm Clock.

***Disclaimer: This is a semi-satirical post, and I have no hard feelings towards Alarm Clocks everywhere. Voice is still VERY early, but it is fun to watch how new technology can find billion dollar markets without trying. The Alarm feature of the Echo and Dot is one of the most used features, even though it feels so simple (and you don’t go on Amazon thinking “boy, I want a $180 Alarm Clock” and buy an Echo).

Who knew that a survey from market research firm YouGov found that while 48 percent of respondents aged 16-34 said they used their phone as an alarm, another 38 percent said they use either a clock radio or an alarm clock. Old survey, but shows that Alarm Clocks are still a thing.