Yesterday took place the Amazon private hardware presentation event where the company announced several devices including an Alexa clock, a new (louder) Echo Dot, an Echo Subwoofer, an Echo for the car. The list does not end there, as I said in a previous episode Amazon consider the TV to be the most important device in the house and they presented yesterday a live-recording Fire TV Recast focused on live-recording TV and beaming that video to other devices you have. Add to that list a new Echo Show that works with a Skype and it’s featuring a new design.
One of the devices I wanted to here more is the Alexa microwave. With Alexa controls and a dash button to order popcorn, the microwave doesn’t have voice controls per se but it can communicate with an Echo near where you can send it commands like add one minute of cooking. TechCrunch regarded the microwave as unnecessary and I think it is a key piece. Is the only device introduced where you will be able to directly order something, it’s being sold as part of Amazon basics for only $60. It’s part of the experimentation strategy Amazon has been following with devices, and this seemed to be only the beginning. I will watch this trend closely.
Finally, the device that has been receiving more comments on Twitter at least is the Alexa clock. It shows your timers
On the software side 3 main announcements: Two updates to Alexa: Guard mode which can be set when users are away and will listen for more than just its name, including noises like glass breaking and Hunches a system where Alexa will learn about certain smart home habits and offer occasional suggestions if it gets the feeling you forgot to do something like turn off an outdoor porch light before you go to bed. The third one is the Alexa Presentation Language, but I’ll dive into that on Monday when I will have time to play with it and have a better model of what it does.
Amazon is dominating the smart home with this presentation of array of devices and possibilities of effectively integrating Alexa everywhere.
Business insider reported in response to the announcements that Amazon didn’t say a single thing about voice shopping, which was something of a marquee feature when Alexa was first developed. And quote
Voice shopping is an often-hyped feature of voice assistants, but it has yet to reach the promise of it being the future of digital commerce.
I do see all of this totally related to voice commerce. This is Alexa in your home, when the moment comes to order something, even if it’s reportedly not happen that often now, and you have the feature in your microwave and your car, where are you going to look for? It’s about the connection with the consumer Amazon has always been keen on.