For some people, the idea of an always-listening assistant is just never going to sit well. But what if your private butler lived in an old rotary phone from the 1920s?
That's the concept from artists Dick Whitney and Christine Sunu of Grain Design, who created a series of antique rotary phones modified with Alexa. When the handset is on the receiver, it's just an old-timey, "dumb" relic of simpler times. But lift the handset off and suddenly Alexa can hear you.
That means you don't have to use a mute button to stop Alexa listening in, as is the case with most Alexa-powered devices. There are even some status LEDs to signify when the digital assistant is listening, for added peace of mind.
There are three models available: the Regent, a Belgian model from the late 1950s; the Metropolis candlestick rotary phone; and the solid brass 1920s Avignon.
And to prove they're more than just a gimmick, all three models have been fitted with an 1/8th-inch auxiliary port to connect to other speakers, as well as a USB power cable, so they can all viably function as smart speakers.
More impressive, the creators say they've managed to preserve the earpiece electronics in some models, meaning you'll hear Alexa in the original voice of the phone. That's pretty cool.
All three models cost $1,500 but are currently sold out. If you just can't wait to pick one up, you can put down a $200 reservation on Grain Design's website.
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