You probably saw that Amazon has upgraded and added to its wide range of Alexa voice-controlled speakers and other products over the last week. But did you notice that it also released an Alexa controlled microwave?
Yes. A robot microwave that you can talk to. Imagine the possibilities! (And, if you have young children with Alexa ‘skillz’ they’ve picked up from playing with your various Echos, then imagine the horrific consequences!!).
“Just think, one day there will be thousands of these things in the home,” said Dave Limp, senior vice president of devices at Amazon, when announcing the slew of new Amazon Alexa smart devices last week.
That’s right. Amidst lots of hype and PR chatter in the tech community about the Internet of Things, AI in the home and our connected future, Amazon is not messing around. It’s already doing it.
In addition to its nifty (and cheap $50) in-car Alexa gizmo Amazon Car Echo that it also announced last week, the company (whom journalists can surely no longer lazily refer to as ‘retail giant Amazon’) also released an important piece of hardware called Connect Kit.
As Wired.com describes it: “Connect Kit is a small bit of circuitry with Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi and a real-time OS that makes it staggeringly easy for device manufacturers to add Alexa to whatever they are making. Plug it in to what you are making and your device now has Alexa capability if the end user has other Alexa devices in the home.
“What’s more, Amazon – not the device manufacturer – is responsible for updating the software on the Connect Kit and keeping it secure. The third-party company doesn’t have to worry about a thing.”
That, in a nutshell, is how Amazon is going to ensure that Alexa powers most of the smart devices in our homes in the near future.
And it makes that bizarro smart Alexa microwave that Amazon just released make a little more sense. As Wired.com neatly summarises: “That microwave is the latest attempt from Amazon at establishing a foothold in the home. And this is another experiment. After all, why would you need to talk to a device that you have to get up and physically interact with anyway?”
Next up, we are pretty sure, if Bloomberg’s predictions from earlier this year are on the money, will be the Amazon Home Robot.