Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant continue their rise in tandem, from a nerdy niche to tech trend to an increasingly normal and ubiquitous presence in American homes and lifestyles. "What's next?" mocked the skeptics, eyes a-rolling, "smart microwaves?" As a matter of fact, exactly that and then some.
According to a CNBC report based on an internal document, Amazon is “doubling down” on Alexa and plans to release at least eight new voice-controlled hardware devices this year. And yes, one of them will be a microwave oven. But we can also expect an amplifier, a receiver, a subwoofer, and an in-car device, among others. Some of these will come with Alexa built-in, but others will merely be Alexa-enabled.
The CNBC states that Amazon is expected to reveal some of these devices at an event later this month as more and more consumers come around to the idea of the connected smart home. A survey from digital agency Acquity detailed that by 2019, almost two-thirds of people plan to own a smart home device.
The new range of Alexa devices will open a new sales channel for Amazon and cement Alexa's presence in the car and kitchen as well as the living room, but will also put Amazon in competition with partners like Sonos and GE, which already make sound systems and kitchen appliances that can be controlled with Alexa. Amazon declined to comment on the CNBC report, but it's not the first time Amazon has tried to keep a project under wraps. Earlier this year, Bloomberg leaked details of another intriguing Amazon project...a home robot.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has made no secret of his ambition to make Alexa the most widespread digital assistant as the competition with Google Assistant heats up. The eight new Alexa-enabled devices will certainly go a-ways to reach this goal.
Do you use Amazon Alexa? Are you looking forward to new smart products from the company?