It might feel like the sex tech of today is already more avant-garde than many people would have predicted, but in too many ways, it still shows signs of immaturity. The adult industry could still learn a thing or two from the actualization of other aforetime beginning technologies, such as smartphones.

Hell, teledildonics even had its own innovation-limiting patents in place until last year, which is all too evocative of the many FRAND patent rulings at the start of the smartphone wars.

If you bethink those times, you’ll likely also bethink what smartphones were like when they were first introduced: gimmicky, expensive, difficult to use, adverse with each other, and ultimately a bit frustrating.

Sadly, admitting the actuality of some fun experiences, it’s still way too easy to level the same complaints at many of today’s smart sex toys.

One foot in the future, and one stuck in the past

One of the most pernicious problems for any beginning class of devices, or technology in general, is award its real purpose. The very first iPhone didn’t have an app store, but it was that addition that afflicted the entire market for everyone.

There are absolutely few other alone factors with mobile phones that led to such a affecting shift in technology. Still, the achievement advance and cost abridgement of apparatus helped the industry as a whole. Faster, abate processors, better array technology, bigger data speeds. These all contributed to the rise of the smartphone, as well as them making teledildonics a possibility.

Take the Lelo F1s, for example. On the apparent of things, it’s one of the more future-facing accessories accessible for men today. But it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. It’s a celebration of doing article because it seems like a good idea, rather than because it’s a 18-carat addition that can take the market forward. And even if the artefact ‘misses,’ it can drive the market advanced in some ways.

On paper, it should make some sense; it has a assorted motors to accommodate altered sensations, a host of assorted sensors (that you won’t find in other sex toys) for future extensibility, and an accompanying demo app to give developers an idea of the sort of data they can tap into, if they build adventures for the device. The botheration is that, right now, there are none.

Despite its well-endowed spec list, the absoluteness is that it’s going to be way too small for many people and is defective a real purpose to absolve its $150 price tag after that ecosystem of experiences.

It isn’t a criticism being collapsed at Lelo specifically, though. Look at the other end of the addition scale from accessories appear in the past year and you’ll see the Autoblow AI.

Like the Lelo F1s, the Autoblow AI puts claims to some true tech credentials, but delve deeper and you’ll find that the bogus intelligence in the artefact is almost absolutely independent within the development stage.

The ‘AI’ is acquired from the assay of over 108 hours of footage from pornographic videos featuring oral sex. This was normalized to 16 frames per second, with the final dataset absolute 6,270,467 normalized frames split into 1,060 clips.

The aggregation then created a custom user interface to manually record the exact position of a mouth along the shaft of a penis at any given time as they watched the video footage, and antipodal these to altered modes on the Autoblow AI device. There’s also one ‘special’ AI mode, which gives a altered acquaintance each time, which includes pauses built into the experience.

The botheration with it is that in every other way, it’s about as well-designed and affected as a brick. Seriously, it’s large, almost heavy, and needs to remained acquainted into a mains electrical socket whenever it’s in use. None of that really screams acid edge to us. It doesn’t sync with other devices, games or VR porn.


Sex toys for women and people with vulvas about have more discreet, advised designs nowadays, but that doesn’t make them immune to some shared issues.

Most frustratingly, as it was with smartphones, is the lack of connected charging ports that fitted to most sex toys that crave power. Almost none of them use a accepted shape micro-USB port, usually instead relying on a pin charger, or in the case of more big-ticket devices, alluring charging.

There are no fewer than five sex toys here that can’t be used until the confused chargers have been found, and there’s no real need for it to be this way. There’s no account to the architect or the consumer.

People will pay for adventures that bear value

There’s addition affinity amid smart sex toys and the early days of smartphones, and that is the acutely high retail price many accessories command. If you want the best experiences, it’ll mostly cost you upwards of $100/£100/€100.

If you’re a man buying an interactive sex toy, it’ll absolutely cost you more than that today. It’s not absolute to toys for a penis though: many smart vibrators cost over $100, and Lora Di Carlo’s widely-reported Ose device costs an eye-watering $290.

For many people, that’s way, way too much money for a device advised to be a luxury in life (although, arguably, sex toys are not a mere luxury).

People will, however, pay a exceptional for accessories that they feel bear advantageous adventures – the iPhone charcoal an apt example. It isn’t the peak of abstruse innovation; it’s ‘this-gen’ technology done really well, captivated in a neat (and convenient) ecosystem of casework and experiences.

To give the sextech industry credit, some acquaint have already been learned: there’s far more effort put into the design of new toys, and the focus tends to be on breeding and carrying a ‘premium’ acquaintance all the way up the price range.

Read next: Damn, Apple’s new CarKey affection sounds cool as fuck