HomeKit and Alexa compatibility highlight the new Triby IO speaker

Triby first arrived on the scene about 18 months ago as the first non-Amazon speaker with Alexa Voice Services. While the original model wasn’t met with as much enthusiasm, today’s announcement of the second generation ‘IO’ might turn some heads. In addition to continuing the Alexa partnership, Triby is also welcoming HomeKit functionality into the fold.

Called “one of the first portable HomeKit switches”, the newest version sports the same familiar design with a large forward-facing speaker and compatibility with a number of streaming media services. At $199, it finds itself in an increasingly competitive mid-range market with the recently released Sonos One and others major players.

Triby has always been positioned as a hub for your smart home accessories, but being limited to Alexa’s services limited it in many ways. The addition of HomeKit opens the floodgates to not only the Apple community, but also a wide range of other devices. While the first generation was marketed as a wall-mounted solution, Triby is making it clear that IO can be taken anywhere, from room to room, as an accompaniment to your daily activities.

One of my personal favorite features of Triby is the customizable quick access buttons that surround the E-ink display. These allow users to set presets of sorts – like a radio station – for popular or recurring tasks. Whether it be turning on lights, setting the thermostat or handling just about any Alexa or HomeKit task. Triby also supports IFTTT functionality, if you have devices or automation outside the realm of Amazon or Apple’s services.

Along with the aforementioned smart home integration, Triby is bringing back its proprietary intercom, messaging and calling system. You’ll need two devices to leverage these functions, which likely isn’t a defining feature for most but still a nice touch if you decide to outfit your entire home.

“It has become difficult,” Serge Renouard told VentureBeat. “[Competitors] all have enhanced products. And there are a lot of new brands, like Sonos, that will support Alexa or Google. It’s a real challenge for us. And that’s why we don’t try to just rely on the voice recognition stuff. We probably address a very limited population. But we address the tech people who were already interested in connected devices. That’s a population that’s very familiar with these technologies, and they’re open to new products.”

The new Triby IO speaker is available for pre-order today with a $199 price tag. It’s set to ship by the end of the year.

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