From a microwave to a clock, Amazon is taking Alexa beyond speakers
Amazon's product blitz Thursday wasn't just about new Echo speakers and new Fire TV DVR. In announcing 70 new products, the tech and delivery giant made clear it will bring Alexa to new gadgets ranging from cars to clocks and even microwaves.
Here are some of the more unexpected devices Amazon announced.
At $59.99, the new microwave under the company's AmazonBasics brand is a potentially cheaper option compared with traditional, nonsmart enabled appliances. But Amazon's microwave, of course, integrates with Alexa over Bluetooth, allowing you to tell a nearby Echo smart speaker to set a timer for tasks such as heating up a potato or reordering items such as popcorn.
A blue "Ask Alexa" button on the front of the microwave enables you to you summon the digital assistant on command.
Available for preorder Thursday, the microwave is scheduled to ship later this year.
Echo Wall Clock
Amazon's Echo line traditionally has been used for the company's line of speakers. Now, it also applies to analog clocks.
Featuring Bluetooth to connect to an existing Echo device, you can use the Wall Clock to set timers, alarms and reminders. Since it is internet-connected, Amazon says it will adjust itself automatically at the start and end of Daylight Savings Time.
There is no firm release date, but the Wall Clock will cost $29.99 when it ships later this year.
Amazon Smart Plug
If controlling the microwave isn't enough, Amazon's new plug will let you control other traditionally nonsmart devices such as lamps and coffee makers, enabling you to turn them on and off with your voice.
These types of smart plugs—a device that goes between your appliance and your wall outlet to add features such as Wi-Fi—have been around for a while. Amazon, however, says its product will stand out thanks to a streamlined process that should make setting up these devices much easier.
The Smart Plug is scheduled to start shipping next month, and it will be available for $24.99.
Alexa won't just be in the kitchen. It's coming to the car, too.
Called Echo Auto, the new device features eight microphones to make sure it can hear you in the car. It also has Bluetooth wireless technology to connect to your phone. Bluetooth or a 3.5mm auxiliary jack can be used to connect the device to your car.
Once connected, you can ask Alexa for nearby destinations, directions or to play music or audiobooks. Powered by either your car's USB port or its 12V cigarette lighter outlet, Amazon says Echo Auto will be able to boot up within a "few seconds" after hitting the ignition.
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