Cool business ideas for startups and business development

Portable AI Assistants! Are we ready for this or is this a Cash grab? Part 1


I wrote a Blog post called my second device this was an attempt to examine what a new mobile device would look like if we have reached market saturation for the mobile\ smart phone. I reread the Blog post and some of its ideas are relevant if a product designer was creating a standalone AI device. The advent of commercial AI devices and has inspired the creation of standalone AI mobile assistants and the reviews are in and the results are so far so bad:

With a plethora of new products in the pipeline my observational questions so far are:

  1. Why not integrate this as an App in phone smartphones? The questions about usability are covered in the critiques but my thoughts meandered to why release this product in this format\ Form factor?
  2. The startup models driving the development of new products might have impacted these devices:
  • First to market, growth and monetisation of the users (Plan A). Control of an operating system or eco system: Control the Operating system and hardware then you can control the experience without dependencies.
  • The exit plan business model of startup:
    • Have a unique selling proposition and race for market share. With the possibility of selling the operating system \ devices to a bigger player as part of an exit plan (usually plan B)
    • Create a large user base that might encourage being bought out by a larger player who wants access to potential user (usually plan B)
    • Leverage the prototype to raise interest and funding and claim the incomplete prototype is part of the Agile development process and the prototype \ early release is the MVP. Minimum-Viable-Product
    • Competition \ Product pipeline publicity: Competition: first to market. Publicity: Good or Bad can be leveraged.

Problem space:

Addressing the challenges that will lead to more effective and user-friendly portable AI devices, revolutionizing how we interact with artificial intelligence. Creating portable AI devices or using current smart phones comes with its own set of challenges.

Some of the current problems and potential solutions (see the Appendices for a case study on an application to Gaming in part 2Part 2: AI Assistants: Ideation and requirements):

  1. Processing Power vs. Energy Efficiency:
  2. Data Privacy and Personalization:
  3. Purpose and User Adoption:
  4. Miniaturization and Ergonomics:
  5. Customization and Context Awareness:
  6. Neural Synapse Replication (future):

Problem statement

Developing effective and user-friendly portable AI devices presents several challenges that need to be addressed. These challenges include balancing processing power with energy efficiency, ensuring data privacy while providing personalized services, defining clear use cases for wearable AI, optimizing miniaturization and ergonomics, enabling customization, and exploring neural synapse replication for future advancements.


The vision is to revolutionize how people interact with artificial intelligence through portable devices. We aim to create a new generation of AI companions that seamlessly integrate into users’ lives, enhance productivity, and provide personalized experiences. These devices will prioritize privacy, adapt to individual preferences, and leverage cutting-edge technologies. By addressing these challenges, we envision a future where portable AI devices empower users, improve well-being, and drive innovation.


Think of the rest of this blog post as an output of the first\ rough iteration of using a product development framework.

Use visual models although this is written in text, in my professional life I use visual models for 70% of my ideation

Possible stakeholders and users

Stakeholders and users play critical roles in shaping the responsible adoption and impact of portable AI devices, with benefits spanning productivity, innovation, and societal well-being. This is a non-exhaustive list of the stakeholders and users related to portable AI devices, along with the benefits for each. It needs extensive User research and details:

  1. Stakeholders:
  2. Users:

Stakeholder needs

Although you have an idea of the stakeholders. User research will reveal the needs of the stakeholders and prompt ideas for a solution. For example, Individual consumers needs for an AI assistant, along with some ideas for personalized services. This exercise must be done for all stakeholders (note: one stakeholder need can have 1-X requirements\features). This is documented, sorted\ prioritised for unique, duplicate, conflicting, and redundant and non functional requirements :

Individual Customer:

  1. Virtual Assistants for Productivity:
    • Need: Consumers want efficient ways to manage tasks, schedules, and reminders. Idea: An AI assistant that proactively suggests optimal time slots for meetings, prioritizes tasks based on deadlines, and provides context-aware reminders.
  2. Health Monitoring and Wellness:
    • Need: Consumers seek personalized health insights and monitoring.  Idea: An AI companion that tracks vital signs, provides real-time health advice, and encourages healthy habits (e.g., hydration reminders, posture correction).
  3. Entertainment and Content Recommendations:
    • Need: Consumers want tailored entertainment options. Idea: An AI assistant that curates personalized playlists, recommends books or movies based on mood, and even generates original poems or short stories.
  4. Language Learning and Translation:
    • Need: Consumers desire language support and cultural understanding.  Idea: An AI language coach that adapts to individual learning styles, corrects pronunciation, and provides real-time translations during travel.
  5. Smart Home Integration:
    • Need: Consumers want seamless control over smart devices. Idea: An AI assistant that learns household routines, adjusts thermostat settings, and optimizes energy usage based on occupancy patterns.
  6. Financial Management and Budgeting:
    • Need: Consumers seek assistance in managing finances. Idea: An AI companion that analyses spending habits, suggests budget allocations, and provides investment tips.
  7. Emotional Support and Mental Health:
    • Need: Consumers value emotional well-being. Idea: An empathetic AI chatbot that listens, offers encouragement, and provides coping strategies during stressful moments.
  8. Customized News and Information:
    • Need: Consumers want relevant news without information overload. Idea: An AI news aggregator that filters content based on user interests, summarizes articles, and provides context.
  9. Fitness Coaching and Workouts:
    • Need: Consumers seek personalized fitness routines. Idea: An AI fitness coach that tailors’ workouts, tracks progress, and adjusts exercises based on individual goals and limitations. additional integation with fitness hardware and gaming consoles.
  10. Travel Planning and Recommendations:
    • Need: Consumers want travel assistance. Idea: An AI travel companion that suggests destinations, finds flight deals, and recommends local experiences based on preferences.

SWOT Analysis

While there are opportunities for AI assistants as standalone devices or smartphone apps to address user needs and revolutionize interaction with AI, there are also challenges and threats that need to be carefully considered and navigated to ensure success in the market. Here’s the SWOT a for the need of an AI assistant as a standalone device or an app in a smartphone:


1. Growing Demand for AI Assistance: There’s a rising demand for AI-powered assistance across various domains, indicating a market need for AI assistants both as standalone devices and smartphone apps.

2. Potential for Innovation: The challenges outlined, such as processing power optimization, data privacy, and miniaturization, present opportunities for innovation in both hardware and software, enabling the development of more effective and user-friendly AI assistants.

3. Vision for Revolutionizing Interaction: The vision of revolutionizing how people interact with AI through portable devices aligns with emerging trends in AI technology and consumer preferences for seamless integration and personalized experiences.


1. Negative Perception from Initial Reviews: The negative reviews of existing AI assistant devices raise concerns about product quality, usability, and overall consumer satisfaction, potentially impacting the perception of future products in this category.

2. Competition from Established Players: The presence of established players in the AI assistant market, coupled with the challenges of entering a saturated market, poses a barrier to entry for new entrants and increases competitive pressure.

3. Technological and Development Challenges: Overcoming technological limitations, such as processing power constraints and hardware design complexities, requires significant research, development, and investment, which may pose challenges for startups and new players in the industry.


1. Integration with Smartphone Ecosystems: Integrating AI assistants as smartphone apps presents an opportunity to leverage existing smartphone ecosystems, user bases, and distribution channels, potentially reaching a broader audience and facilitating user adoption.

2. Addressing User Needs and Preferences: By addressing the identified challenges, such as data privacy concerns and usability issues, AI assistants can cater to user needs and preferences more effectively, driving adoption and satisfaction.

3. Innovative Business Models: Exploring innovative business models, such as partnerships with smartphone manufacturers or subscription-based services, can provide alternative monetization strategies and revenue streams for AI assistant providers.


1. Privacy and Security Concerns: Heightened concerns about data privacy and security pose a threat to the adoption of AI assistants, particularly if users perceive risks associated with personal data collection and usage.

2. Market Saturation and Competition: The proliferation of AI assistant products and solutions may lead to market saturation and intensify competition, making it challenging for new entrants to differentiate themselves and gain market share.

3. Consumer Scepticism and Resistance: Consumer scepticism and resistance towards AI technology, fuelled by negative experiences or perceptions, could hinder adoption and acceptance of AI assistants, particularly if trust and reliability issues persist.

PESTLE Analysis

Helps to understand the external factors that may influence the development, adoption, and success of AI assistants as standalone devices or smartphone apps, providing insights into the broader socio-economic, technological, and regulatory landscape. For an AI assistant as a standalone device or a smartphone app:


1. Regulatory Environment: Government regulations regarding data privacy, cybersecurity, and AI technology may impact the development and deployment of AI assistants. Compliance with regulations such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and emerging AI-specific regulations is crucial.

2. Government Support: Government policies and initiatives supporting innovation in AI technology and digital transformation may create opportunities for AI assistant developers, such as funding, research grants, and tax incentives.


1. Market Demand: Economic factors such as consumer purchasing power, disposable income, and overall market demand for AI technology influence the adoption and success of AI assistants. Economic downturns or recessions may affect consumer willingness to invest in new technologies.

2. Cost Considerations: Economic factors such as production costs, pricing strategies, and affordability of AI devices or apps impact their accessibility to consumers and market competitiveness.


1. Consumer Behaviour: Social trends and preferences, such as the increasing reliance on digital assistants for everyday tasks, the desire for personalized experiences, and concerns about data privacy and security, shape the demand for AI assistants.

2. Ethical Considerations: Social attitudes towards AI technology, including concerns about job displacement, algorithmic bias, and ethical use of personal data, influence public perception and acceptance of AI assistants.


1. Advancements in AI Technology: Rapid advancements in AI technology, such as natural language processing, machine learning, and neural networks, drive innovation in AI assistants, enabling more sophisticated features and capabilities.

2. Hardware and Software Development: Technological advancements in hardware components, such as processors, sensors, and batteries, as well as software development tools and platforms, impact the design, performance, and user experience of AI devices and apps.


1. Intellectual Property Rights: Legal considerations related to intellectual property rights, patents, and copyrights impact the development, protection, and commercialization of AI assistant technologies, particularly in competitive markets with proprietary algorithms and innovations.

2. Data Privacy and Security Regulations: Compliance with data privacy and security regulations, such as GDPR, CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), and sector-specific regulations, is essential to address concerns about user data protection and mitigate legal risks.


1. Sustainability and Energy Efficiency: Environmental concerns such as energy consumption, electronic waste, and sustainability drive demand for AI devices and apps that prioritize energy efficiency, recyclability, and environmentally friendly materials in their design and manufacturing processes.

2. Carbon Footprint: Considerations related to the carbon footprint and environmental impact of AI assistant devices, including manufacturing, distribution, and end-of-life disposal, are increasingly important in environmentally conscious markets and corporate sustainability initiatives.


This is part 1 in which I have considered the problem space, created a problem statement and vision and identified potential stakeholder\ needs and outline analysis.

  • The initial analysis explores the feasibility and implications of developing AI assistants as standalone devices or smartphone apps. It begins with a discussion on the growing market saturation of mobile phones, prompting the exploration of alternative devices such as standalone AI assistants. The analysis highlights the challenges faced by existing AI assistant devices based on negative reviews and questions the rationale behind their release as standalone products rather than smartphone apps.
  • Further examination delves into the influence of various startup models on the development of these devices, including strategies for market growth, monetization, and potential exit plans. The analysis also introduces a series of problem areas related to developing effective and user-friendly portable AI devices, such as processing power optimization, data privacy concerns, and miniaturization challenges.
  • The section concludes with a vision for revolutionizing user interaction with artificial intelligence through portable devices, emphasizing the need for innovation, clear use cases, and a deep understanding of user needs and preferences. Overall, part one sets the stage for a comprehensive analysis of the opportunities and challenges surrounding AI assistants as standalone devices or smartphone apps, laying the groundwork for informed decision-making and strategic planning for product design in this dynamic and rapidly evolving field.
  • The possible first iteration and output is in part 2 (Part 2: AI Assistants: Ideation and requirements)

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