Published: Thu, September 20, 2018
IT | By Jonathon Greene

Amazon is reportedly baking Alexa into a microwave this year

Amazon is reportedly baking Alexa into a microwave this year

Amazon has plans to release at least 8 new voice-controlled devices before the year-end. Alexa has pushed Amazon to become a leader in home automation, with an assortment of home accessories deeply integrated into the platform.

As well as a microwave and the in-car gadget, the new product line up is thought to include an amplifier, receiver, and subwoofer.

The new features sound like a good fit for gee-whiz integrations from third-parties that make Alexa-friendly toys and novelty gadgets.

It will be completely controlled through the Alexa app, with Amazon saying that no hub is required - so it seems this will work independently of other devices. It's worth noting that the company launched an SDK to help auto makers integrate the assistant into their vehicle entertainment systems last month, so it may have had this in the works for quite some time. The CNBC report also noted that having its own home appliances opens a new sales channel for Amazon, as the company can partner with smart home installation companies to bring its Alexa-powered devices to more homes. Rumors of new products such as these indicate Amazon is looking to get a greater foothold in the smart home sphere, possibly spinning out the Alexa brand into a range of devices of its own. The publication notes that Amazon will release some of the devices at an event scheduled later this month.

The CEO of Amazon has already made clear his ambition to make Alexa more widely used, as the company wants customers to be able to use the assistant wherever they are. Whether the devices will be shipping in time for the holidays is unclear.

Earlier this year, Amazon acquired the smart doorbell maker Ring, which also makes devices that are compatible with Alexa. Of course, there are rumours that Amazon is also building robots for the home. Sonos, for example, has a similar business model, as it said in its quarterly filing that it relies on "custom installers of home audio systems for a significant portion of our sale". All of them will be Alexa-enabled, however, some of them will have Alexa inbuilt, says the report. With eight new Alexa-enabled devices, the company is working along that goal. One ongoing criticism of Amazon's Echo, Dot and related smart speakers is that their sound quality isn't great, whereas smart speakers by Sonos Inc., Google LLC's Home Max and even Apple Inc.'s HomePod offer high-fidelity sound, though with a price to match.

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