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Will the elimination of music playing App be smart speakers?


Soft applications are boundaries that are artificially segmented by domain. For example, QQ music and Himalayan are essentially the same, but because of the different main bodies of operations, they are divided into two different applications. There are many similar scenes such as news, video, and so on. This kind of classification and experience does not matter, and it does not matter with commercial competition. It is actually caused by technical limitations. 


AI Speaker


From the perspective of experience, this kind of artificial segmentation is actually inconvenient, so the super application of WeChat always tries to make more of it. From the perspective of commercial competition, the differentiation of Netease News and Sina News is reasonable, but the division of QQ music and Tencent video is unreasonable. So the boundaries of soft applications are essentially technical limitations.


All soft applications can be seen as a way for people to consume information, and in the past all such consumption was classified. Windows menus, directories, navigation pages of web pages, indexes, and apps on mobile phones are actually classified. Without the classification of human cognitive systems, it is impossible to interface with vast digital information. Therefore, soft applications can also be regarded as the best information consumption and utilization methods obtained after repeated polishing at the current technical level.


Smart speakers are the most typical hard applications (both robots and so on). This hard application is quite versatile, but is essentially perpendicular to a certain scene. Such as TV, story machine, car system, etc., these hard applications are specially optimized for a certain scene, such as for screen or sound effects, but have special versatility, such as the ability to have general questions and answers. This is very different from soft applications mainly relying on a general-purpose device, such as a mobile phone, computer or Pad.


Soft applications are inherently opposed to hard applications. All interaction habits and hard applications are completely incompatible, so it is particularly awkward to apply the soft application classification method directly to hard applications.


The biggest difference between hard and soft applications is not whether to optimize for specialized areas (music, news, etc.). The core difference is that all visible hard applications support a new way of interaction. Classification is based on, but based on memory and perception. The perceptual part is well understood. A hard application will use the surrounding environment as a part of the input, so it shows more intelligence, but it needs to be explained more on the basis of memory.


In a soft application, all the information is centered around categories and prompts. All we see is either a classification or a hint (imagine the interface of an application like the headline), which constitutes the key to consumer information. Only a small number of times rely on search, using the search to jump to an irrelevant additional information context, but after the search is classified and prompted. The search itself is based on memory. A person only searches for what he knows, and the prompt is the key to consuming unknown information. These points have been merged in soft applications, but the search is in a lesser position.


But in hard applications, classification is eliminated, all information in the voice-dependent interaction is completely open, and memory becomes the first key factor (all voice-like interactions are essentially search), and prompts Differentiate on screenless screenless devices. From this perspective, the final interaction efficiency will be the key to the rise of hard applications, and the interaction efficiency of hard applications is actually related to the degree of intelligence.


The core driver of hard application will rise


In theory, products like storytelling should not be there, because all the things that the story can do can be replaced by an application on the Pad. But it is there, it lasts for many years, and the boundaries with robots are blurring and there is an increasing trend. The existence of such hard applications is related to factors such as cost and ID.


As the perception of the surrounding environment becomes more critical, it will become increasingly difficult to cover all the scenes with one device. Mobile phones, computers, and Pads are also essentially a kind of computing device. Following the architecture of Von Neumann, this basic architecture is no problem to calculate or support soft applications. But if perception is more and more critical, it will face challenges in terms of cost. It is unlikely to integrate the microphone array for Echo, the lenses needed for AR glasses, and even the computing chips into one device. That would infinitely push up the cost of a generic product. In this way, monitoring the environment requires a separate device, far-field voice interaction requires a separate device (think Echo Show), mobile requirements will spawn new devices.


Differentiation on the ID can also cause challenges for general-purpose devices. For example, the screen of a mobile phone cannot be made infinitely large, and it cannot move when it is large. It is also impossible to select a mobile phone or a Pad speaker. For the glasses products, the ID can only be designed separately because of the wearing method.


From this perspective: a variety of sensors + special optimized ID + new interactive system will be standard for hard applications.


Subsequent impact of hard applications


In the past, hard applications were actually a lot, such as TVs, routers, cameras, etc., but in the past, hard applications were basically not universal, and what they did was. But with the emergence of new interactive systems on the back end, this clear boundary is being broken.


As the number and experience of smart speakers increase, the places where people consume audio content will shift, which will affect the soft applications of the corresponding categories. For example, the more frequently the smart speakers are used, the lower the frequency of use of Himalayan and QQ music apps will be reduced. Similarly, if the frequency of use of smart TVs and boxes is higher, the frequency of use of corresponding soft applications will also decrease. So the process of the rise of hard applications is the process of user time redistribution.


Abstract, the speed of this time migration ultimately depends on the overall interaction efficiency and experience beyond. The current voice interaction is only advantageous in a specific memory range (for example, if you know what song you want to listen to, the voice interaction must be faster than the touch screen), but the overall interaction efficiency and experience are not as good as the touch screen. If one day we pass this inflection point, then the hard application will really PK soft application. And this kind of transcendence now needs not a technological breakthrough, but a breakthrough in design.


After this inflection point, when a person lives in the hotel again, it is no longer lying in bed to pull out the mobile phone, but to start the big screen through the face and voiceprint, and then more convenient to consume all kinds of information.


Hard applications can always exceed the cost of a general-purpose device, such as the big screen of a TV or the cheapness of a story machine. If there is a general-purpose information consumption system that can broaden the scope of use of each hard application, the larger the boundary is, the smaller the value of the soft application.


An extreme case is the most typical general-purpose device -- the phone may be reconfigured accordingly, and the mobile phone with the new interaction mode as the core will be different from the current touch screen. And if the mobile phone experience is better, but the price can be cheaper, then the mobile phone manufacturer will be willing to make such an attempt.



The intelligent hardware was hot once, but it didn't really cause too much sensation on the landing, so it quickly fell. The core reason is that the intelligence at that time is basically equivalent to networking, and networking does not really create too much value. But the world seems to have a general premonition, so words like IoT have never died, but the word is actually wrong. Internet Of Things can't support hard applications, and Intelligence Of Things should work.

TypeInfo: Industry News

Keywords for the information:Smartphone  Smart Speaker