Many years ago, too many to count, I was fascinated with the Apple Newton and something that John Scully called the Knowledge Navigator. Essentially the idea was that you would have a device you could interact with and would act as your personal digital assistant. You can watch a promo of the Knowledge Navigator below:
I bought a used Newton and, while I loved it, it wasn’t enough for me. Later, I played with a pre-release version of the Palm Pilot and purchased one of the very first Compaq iPaq devices (remember them?). I really thought these devices would change my life, and they did, to a certain degree, but no matter what device I picked up, I always wanted more. Eventually I came to the conclusion that all of my solution envy would end when voice control was a viable option.
I looked at Wildfire, Dragon Naturally Speaking, and some other products, but the recognition wasn’t good enough for me. I couldn’t spend my day interacting with my computer or writing with that product (although I have a drawer full of Dragon installation discs from all the different versions I purchased over the years and never used).
I finally decided that my world would be perfect when I could just talk to my PC any time I wanted. I’d no need to put a headset on, I would just interact with it throughout the day and get more done. It was about this time that I realized that once we got to that point, apps as we knew them would simply not be needed anymore. This was about 2008 and I was still carrying a BlackBerry device while the world was going gaga over Android and iOS.
In 2012, I registered this domain expecting that it would be useful someday. Ultimately, my plan was to start work in this area and I’d need this site for my company’s products. That didn’t quite work out, as you can probably see, so I decided to resurrect this domain as a place where I can write about what I’m seeing in this space.
Since then, voice recognition and playback became core features on Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows devices. Google Now, Siri and Cortana came around and started answering your questions. Next, Google Now and later iOS started actually inferring things about your life, automatically letting me know where my car is parked or how long I will need to get to my next appointment (without me asking). Finally, Dag Kittlaus demonstrated Viv to the world and I knew it was finally happening. The move to a world without apps (WWA) has started and now I just get to sit around and watch it happen.
My plan for this site is to write periodic posts on topics related to voice interaction systems and what’s happening with traditional mobile apps being replaced by…experiences. My goal is to cover anything related to the WWA and to see if I can get some like-minded people to join in. Honestly, I don’t know how often I’ll have something to write, so your best bet is to subscribe to this site using the form to the right. If you’d like to contribute to the site, please let me know.
John M. Wargo
August 1, 2016