Will Amazon Control Your Microwave and Your Car?
Amazon announced more than a dozen new hardware products on September 20, 2018. Along with a slew of software updates, the e-commerce giant pushed is digital assistant, “’Alexa,” much deeper into every corner of consumers’ homes and even their cars.
No Wonder They Call Alexa “Echo”
Yes, Amazon wants to elbow its way into your kitchen and your car. But we'll get to that later. Let's start with the recently announced Echo gadgets. The basic Echo Dot smart speaker got a software upgrade that makes it much louder. The Echo Plus got a complete redesign and can now understand commands even while it is not connected to the Internet.
The living room will also be louder thanks to the Echo Sub, a huge speaker/subwoofer that looks a lot like Apple’s HomePod but competes with the popular Sonos speaker. An Alexa clock and even an Alexa Smart Plug join the myriad of Echo devices coming to or already on retailers’ shelves.
Amazon also revealed the new Fire TV Recast, a DVR that lets you watch and record free over-the-air programming on a compatible tablet or phone, an Echo Show device, and of course on the Fire TV platform. If you already have a Fire TV, all live and recorded content from your HD antenna will be integrated into your Fire TV screen as well as on an on-screen DVR tab, and in a channel guide.
You can tune in Sunday’s big ball game, make a run to the store for munchies, and futz around in the kitchen without missing a single touchdown or interception. You can record up to four shows simultaneously while watching a fifth show live. Now that’s Progress! It’s all free, too, there is no monthly subscription fee and the over-the-air programming is as free as air.
Remember the Food-a-Rac-a-Cycle? The Jetsons cartoon first aired in 1962, and imagined life in the year 2062. One of the many space-age conveniences they enjoyed was the Food-a-Rac-a-Cycle, which could manufacture delicious food, ex nihilo. It appears we are one step closer to realizing that dream.
For your kitchen, an Alexa-enabled microwave oven debuted at the low price of $60. We've had toasters on the Internet since the early 1990s, but they've never been terribly practical. Amazon extols the virtues of the internet-enabled, voice-controlled AmazonBasics Microwave thusly: "Now it’s easier to defrost peas, make popcorn, cook potatoes, and reheat rice. Quick-cook voice presets let you just ask Alexa to start microwaving."
But wait, that's not all! The "Auto Popcorn Replenishment" feature will automatically reorder popcorn if your stash is low. Your AmazonBasics Microwave needs an Echo device (not included) to work all that magic. And for now, at least, you still have to put the food in the microwave yourself. Even if you don't have an Echo device, the $60 AmazonBasics Microwave seems like a capable, compact 700-watt machine.
Do I Have Your Attention?
For cars, the new Echo Auto device connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and enables Alexa to play music, make phone calls, even switch off a smart appliance you may have left on at home. Or, switch one on… "Alexa, defrost the peas!" But not just anyone can buy the Echo Auto, for now it's available by invitation only.
Despite this blitzkrieg of hardware products, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, is not competing for hardware sales with Apple, Google, Sony, et. al. He is competing for your attention, a commodity much more valuable than the markup on all the appliances and gadgets in your home.
Making Alexa and the Amazon brand ubiquitous in consumer homes is CEO Jeff Bezos’ goal. He wants you to turn to Alexa for everything you need or want to buy, because the odds are it’s on Amazon and your purchase will make money for Amazon somehow. If Alexa is in the smart plug above your bathroom sink, you will call quietly, “Alexa, add toilet paper to Costco shopping list” when the time is ripe.
You will repeat Alexa’s name a dozen or a hundred times each day, and thus become habituated to buying on Amazon. Ideally, you will forget where else you can buy things. Alexa will become the mother who takes care of your every need -- all with free two-day shipping. Alexa even lets you change the "wake word" by which she is summoned. I think I'll call mine Rosie.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 25 Sep 2018
|For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.|
[ALERT] Freeze Your Credit Files For Free
The Top Twenty
Geekly Update - 26 September 2018
Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions
Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005
- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- Will Amazon Control Your Microwave and Your Car? (Posted: 25 Sep 2018)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved