Amazon is releasing its own Alexa-enabled microwave and clock, on top of new Echo devices
Now that Amazon has set the bar for virtual assistant speakers, the tech giant is taking the technology where it’s never gone before: the kitchen.
No, we don’t just mean putting your Echo device in your kitchen so that you can ask Alexa for recipes while you’re busy making dinner. Today (September 20), Amazon has announced several new Alexa-enabled products and among them is the new Amazon Basic Microwave.
Yep, that’s a microwave integrated with Alexa, which means you can talk your microwave into making your dinner for you (kind of).
The microwave will cost $59.99 in the US (about £45) and is powered by Alexa Connect Kit, a low-cost Bluetooth and Wi-Fi module that brings smart features to standard home appliances, The Verge reports.
It will come with voice-activated presets and works in conjunction with a nearby Echo, but it doesn’t have full Alexa functionality, so you’re limited to just asking it to cook the vegetables, and not about the day’s weather.
But that’s not all Amazon had to share today, as the company also announced an Alexa-integrated wall clock, which can be used to set timers and other time-based Alexa tasks.
The clock will cost $30 (about £23), and according to Amazon senior vice president of devices and services David Limp (via CNBC), the motor will automatically change when it comes to daylight savings time.
Also announced by Amazon is the new Echo Auto, an in-car device that uses a new OS from Amazon and can be used for Alexa integration – meaning it can read you an audible book, call other Echos and even alert Alexa to turn on your lights when you pull up at home.
The Alexa Smart Plug will allow users to plug items directly into it and automatically sync them with an existing Echo, while the Alexa Guard syncs your Echo, smart lights and security service provider (if you have one) to bring them all together to increase security.
There’ll also be new security cameras and a Fire TV Recast, which allows users to get over-the-air TV channels, record programmes and stream to multiple devices simultaneously and of course Amazon’s popular Echo devices are getting an update too.
The new Echo Dot will be 70% louder with clearer sound and a choice of colours for the fabric face. The Echo Plus promises cleaner sounds and better bass, and will also have an internal temperature sensor and allow users to lock controls so home commands will work even without WiFi.
Finally, the Echo Show will be upgraded with a 10-inch HD display, fabric body and improved sound, including dual side-firing speakers and an eight microphone array. Bonus features include integration with Vevo and Hulu, as well as Skype and the ability to access Amazon Silk and Firefox browsers.
While the Echo devices will all start shipping in the US and the UK from next month, other smart home devices won’t be available until later on in the year. UK release dates have yet to be confirmed, but you can explore all the products in Amazon’s new Alexa range over on the US site now.
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