Most phones today have settings to block apps from using the mic, but this wireless charging cradle goes the extra mile in promising total privacy in your bedroom.
Most of us today may have already taken for granted how our phones seem to always have an ear out for our next verbal command. The ubiquity of smart speakers or smart home appliances that also have this feature makes the likes of Apple Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa unseen members of the household, always ready to lend a hand, sometimes even when you don’t want them to. Privacy has always been a thorny subject when it comes to smart assistants and their presence in homes, and one startup is trying to offer some peace of mind, at least as far as phones are concerned.
Smartphone and smart speaker makers will fight tooth and nail to defend their practices when it comes to how smart assistants are always listening or not. They make the distinction that these devices are only always listening for the triggers that activate them but aren’t recording anything before those triggers are spoken. Unfortunately, anecdotes about misheard wake phrases and privacy violations may have made some a bit too paranoid.
You can always turn these features off from their settings, but that might not be enough for some. After all, you still have to trust that device makers and app developers are really playing by the rules they set themselves and respect the restrictions that people have set. Not everyone does so, unfortunately, which is why Pozio released a class of accessories designed to thwart privacy-invasive technology with technology.
The Pozio Cradle looks like a rather odd wireless charging pad, one that keeps your phone upright inside an enclosure. This design, however, is intentional, as that wall around your phone emits what the company describes as “subaudible” that practically turns your phone deaf to your voice but remains silent for pets. The promise is that any app listening through the phone’s mics will hear nothing, even with settings enabled.
This won’t stop other devices in your room or house from still listening to your voice, which is why Pozio also created different “Shield Block & Talk” mounts for different smart speakers. Even then, however, there will be nothing to stop smart thermostats, smart TVs, or smart displays from still doing their thing, which makes products like these almost futile. Then again, if you filled your house with always-listening devices, you probably already know what you’re sacrificing in exchange.