Commercial mobile telephones were actually invented in 1949 by AT&T, but it wasn’t until the early 70’s that phones were truly mobile – not tethered to vehicles.  I remember when neighbor kids would want to ride in my car so they could call Mom at home and tell her where they were calling from. They couldn’t believe it!

By 2011, there were more cell phones than people living in the United States.

The United Nations reports that more people on earth have access to cell phones than toilets. Out of the world’s estimated 7 billion people, 6 billion have access to mobile phones.  I’d say that’s mainstream.

From the Stylus to Palm Pilot to the Pocket PC, it wasn’t until Apple introduced the I-Pad that tablets became mainstream.  Apple alone has sold 336 million of them.  I remember the first time I saw one in a restaurant, allowing me to view and read reviews on all of the wines available.

The hot new tech category seems to be voice-recognition and personal assistants, from Siri to Google Home to Amazon Echo (and Alexa).  Amazon says they’ve sold more than 5 million in two years, generating $11 million dollars in revenue.  That’s pretty close to the number of I-pads sold in the early days.

Right now, I’d say it’s too earlier to be mainstream, but maybe it’s time to pay attention.

Today, I saw this.


Wynn Las Vegas and Amazon announce plans to equip all 4,748 hotel rooms at Wynn Las Vegas with Echo, Amazon’s hands-free voice-controlled speaker. The introduction of this technology into every guest room, beginning this month with installation in suites, will be an industry first in the world, allowing guests of Wynn Las Vegas to control various hotel room features with a series of voice commands via Alexa, the brain behind Echo.

“The ability to talk to your room is effortlessly convenient… guests can verbally control every aspect of lighting, temperature, and the audio-visual components of a hotel room…” – Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts

Alexa will be fully operational in all guest rooms by summer 2017, and will initially control guest room lights, room temperature, drapery and the television.  As the project evolves, future features such as personal assistant functions will be introduced.

Smart idea.  Gets some publicity for the hotel.  Gets people trying the technology and seeing it maximized.  So will voice recognition and smart home technology finally start to gain mainstream appeal?  We’ll see.