As affiliated accessories go, most aren’t much to look at. Echo, Google Home, and others are functional, but aesthetically they don’t do much to move the needle. I’d call them neutral, at best.

Musio takes a unique access that’s not all that unique anymore. I’ll explain. Ever since affiliated accessories have been a thing, manufacturers fell firmly into one of two camps: the functional, and the aesthetically pleasing. The latter camp had utility, but only because of the work done by the former. Find me an animal (or cartoonish) smart abettor with appearance Echo doesn’t have and I’ll gladly shut the fuck up.

You done yet? Good; let’s continue.

A anchorman can’t walk more than nine steps at a trade show after active into one of the goddamn monstrosities.

Design runs the gamut from the absolute creepy, to Musio — which I saw today at SXSW — a contemporary smart hub that I’d brainstorm is what would happen if Eve from Wall-E and your Teddy Ruxpin doll from 1995 had a few too many and hit it off in the back of an Uber. Its simple white body is absolute by an LED screen that appearance eyes — for some reason — and a “personality” which seems to mostly abide of blockage your agenda and making fart noises. Don’t get me wrong, I can get behind both of these things.

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Musio’s cute, it’s functional, and the plan is to make it modular. All are ideas I can get behind. Amazon Echo with add-on modules? Sign me up.

I’m a design-first kind of guy, so I’m absolutely abashed as to why I hate these things so much. Maybe it’s the fact that none are as good as the things they’re acutely trying to replace, or conceivably it’s my innate fear that one is going to steal my soul while account my reminders and staring at me with those dead LED-illuminated eyes.

Or, maybe I’m secretly in love with them and I can’t even admit it to myself yet.

But seriously, after seeing a few dozens of these you really have to ask yourself: do we really need a repackaged Google Home with fewer appearance and a prettier shell?

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