AMAZON'S EVER-PRESENT virtual assistant Alexa is being embedded in a range of own branded products.
CNBC is reporting that the company is planning eight new devices that could be with us (or more likely with US customers, sigh) in time for them to make your Christmas tree lean at a funny angle.
Some of the devices on the drawing board include some sort of in-car device, an amplifier, a sub-woofer and a microwave.
Wait… what was that last one?
Yes, as we reported at the beginning of the year, an Amazon-branded microwave oven with Alexa built in allowing you to control it with your voice, and run it remotely for piping hot TV dinner when you get back to your mum's basement.
As with a lot of smart home devices, there's a feeling that Amazon is doing this because it can, not because it's remotely necessary. As we've seen over the past couple of years with smart upright vacuum cleaners (why?) and Bluetooth irons (really, why?) there's an awful lot that we just don't need to automate, like, ever.
Lights. Heating. Security. Entertainment. Yes.
Things that we are holding in our hand and require to be holding a phone in the other hand? Bad.
Things that require us to do half the work before we leave the house? A timer would do.
History will probably show that this overambition will eventually right itself but in the meantime, it's really worth asking whether we need it and whether you'd be better off getting a smart plug and a non-smart device and saving a fortune.
Amazon has already begun to sew up the security sector with its purchase of both Ring and Blink, and there are rumours it is working on a physical presence for Alexa in the shape of a home help robot.
Alas, like a lot of other smart home companies in this transitional era, it also seems intent on a lot of things that people will buy, but ultimately serve just to lock you into a single vendor system.
The full list of products and details is expected at an event to be held later this month. μ
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