Ubi has kept its promise and the Ubiquitous Computer is here for you to buy, at a 299$ price tag.
You can plug it in in any socket in your home, may be in the one by the kitchen table so that it is conveniently near to you when you are busy cooking and can listen to your questions.
Ubi is a sort of Siri but does not meet a smart phone. It is intended to morph seamlessly in the home environment, connect via WiFi to the internet and also with any device that in your home also connect to the WiFi.
The nice thing is that it has not been designed to be a hub, for controlling your devices, although it can surely do that. It has been designed to be your interface (voice based) to the internet, including the "homenet" if I can call the home intranet in that way! It is an interesting idea and we will have to see if it will be able to win the market, that is our homes.
For a start, Ubi has created a portal for developers providing them with API and a way to distribute their applications.
I remember many years ago, at Epcot, there was showcase of the future where people could talk in their home to some sort of "genius of the lamp" who would willingly turn their commands into actions (and there was also quite a bit of humour as result of possible misunderstandings....). Now it is no longer a figment of imagination but reality. Who could have thought, just twenty years ago, that we could be using a "computer" to switch on the light. A pretty expensive switch! And yet, here it is coming.
At the EIT ICT Labs we are studying the area of smart spaces, how to create ambient awareness. Clearly the availability of control points like Ubi that provides a voice interface cast a new light into the smartness of an ambient.