Will Amazon Control Your Microwave and Your Car?

Category: Gadgets

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.

Amazon's new voice-controlled appliances

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...

Ask Your Computer or Internet Question

  (Enter your question in the box above.)

It's Guaranteed to Make You Smarter...

AskBob Updates: Boost your Internet IQ & solve computer problems.
Get your FREE Subscription!


Check out other articles in this category:

Link to this article from your site or blog. Just copy and paste from this box:

This article was posted by on 25 Sep 2018

For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.

Prev Article:
[ALERT] Freeze Your Credit Files For Free

The Top Twenty
Next Article:
Geekly Update - 26 September 2018

Most recent comments on "Will Amazon Control Your Microwave and Your Car?"

Posted by:

25 Sep 2018

Good article, Bob.
No, Amazon will not be controlling anything in my house or car. First I would not trust Amazon invading my space and, most of all, I don't trust the Internet, period. I have a home network that include the Internet but my router is powered off when I shut down for the night. I can brew my own coffee, defrost my own peas, and manage my entertainment source on my own, thank you.

Posted by:

25 Sep 2018

Amazon also will not take over my life. Too much is going on already. We need to step back from the technology of control, not mindlessly absorb it.

Posted by:

Jay R
25 Sep 2018

Meet George Jetson
His boy, Elroy
Daughter Judy
Jane, his wife

Rosie didn't make it into the lyrics, but I see that she has been reincarnated.

Echo is supposed to be good?
Echo is supposed to be good?
Echo is supposed to be good?

Posted by:

25 Sep 2018

i do most of my shopping on walmart and others, i don't trust amazon, facebook, google, microsoft or anything else connected to big brother...he's watching!!!

Posted by:

25 Sep 2018

This could be the greatest thing to ever happen to the human race! Or the worst! The electronics are the only thing the current generation has known. Sure it is convenient, but at what price. The biggest concern, that I have, is that the leaders in all this automation have far left leanings. First they do your thinking in the little things and then they start to influence on the larger things. I like the idea of automation, just don't care for who's driving.

Posted by:

25 Sep 2018

I'll walk and eat cold, raw food before I let Amazon control my car or my microwave. I trust Amazon as far as I can spit upwind in a gale. Amazon has gotten too big and the Government needs to cut Amazon and greedy Bezos down to a more reasonable size. Where is Teddy Roosevelt when we need him?

Posted by:

26 Sep 2018

Jeff Bezos has too much money already. And Amazon is already too pervasive. I'm surprised small retailers anywhere in the U.S. can compete. I'll continue to shop locally, use Amazon only for factual reference, and not let Amazon within 500 miles of my car or home.

Posted by:

R.S. Elam
26 Sep 2018

After reading the above comments, I'm a little more optimistic about the future. BLESS YOU ALL!

Posted by:

26 Sep 2018

You have got to be kidding me. Have Americans lost all of their self-reliance?? I don't even use cruise control; I like driving, and I am not turning over control of my car to anything else.
And, no electronic device is taking over my kitchen.
Thanks much, Bob, (I think) for the blast from the future. At least, we know what is coming.

Posted by:

26 Sep 2018

Thank you for informing us on what is down the pike! No! I will not have Amazon intrude into my kitchen, my car, or anything else, which is mine! No! I do NOT want to give Amazon my information. Besides, I have a very good brain that I can use to think for myself. If I use my brain to think about theoretical astrophysics, quantum theory, geosciences, and an array of other geeky and intellectual subjects, I can certainly use my own brain to remember when to defrost food or run my other appliances. I don't need Amazon or some gadget telling me or reminding me what to do! All those gimmick are there to pilfer people's money!

Posted by:

26 Sep 2018

It seems the idea is for Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft to do our thinking for us. We can just be an organic algorithm offshoot of their machines. We can let them think (and vote) for us.
Have to agree, how many times do we have to say no here? There are no smart appliances in our house and there will be no internet connection in our next car either. Our present one came before all that junk became "standard" I can see the shock on the salesman's face when we tell him we want the Bluetooth turned off totally.

Posted by:

Beverly Chapin
27 Sep 2018

Unfortunately and unhappily those who need to be warned most likely are not reading or listening to anyone like you, Bob. They are just happy to go with the flow and let someone/anyone do their thinking. I even dislike where Microsoft has taken Windows and am seriously looking to find another OS that will allow me to run my own computer unconnected to The Great Mother. What a mindless age this is becoming! If machines take over the world it will be because we have allowed it. Maybe that's what happened to the many "lost civilizations archeologists keep finding that just disappeared.

Posted by:

27 Sep 2018

My use of Amazon (& Ebay) has been limited only to finding used books, both out-of-print & in-print. I first try Alibris.com, Biblio.com & Abebooks.com and if I find it there, I buy it. They have been in the business longer than Amazon. But I still prefer brick & mortar stores and do try them first. New books from stores, I do pay more but I prefer that. I hear people whine about the trouble they have returning items to the internet stores, I don't have that problem, get to use the product the same day I purchase.
Can anyone imagine streets without stores? No food, book, hardware, appliance, clothing, electronic, etc stores? Only restaurants, but Amazon & Uber are also beginning & starting to take them out. I still use taxies.
The other benefit is that some of my money stays in & supports my neighborhood. The person & family that owns that small business & their employees.
My rant for the day!

Posted by:

29 Sep 2018

In common with other posters above, I will not let Amazon - or Google or ebay or anyone else - have control over my life, my house or my habits. This is yet another aspect of the much vaunted 'Internet of Things' concept in which your appliances will control your life. That in itself is bad enough but when you give one entity effective overall control, you've now acquired your very own Big Brother!
Anyway, I LIKE shopping! I like to pick my own fruit and vegetables, I like to chat to checkout people, and I hate being nagged by self-scan checkout computers!
As a corollary in similar vein, I made a comment on another forum a few weeks back to the effect that the cellphone connected heating controller being pushed (called 'Hive' by British Gas) these days was an expensive (around $250 equivalent) solution looking for a problem. One user told me that it was a worthwhile investment to be able to turn on his heating before he got home. I replied that I had a thermostat.
Same with this Echo, or Alexa or whatever you call it. I can get up an press a button or two, for heaven's sake. We're already becoming a population of inert couch potatoes. To have a gadget to everything for you is not going to improve matters - and giving up control of your life to a giant corporation isn't going to do any of us any good at all.

Posted by:

29 Sep 2018

Wow and wow again, I didn't realize that so many people had the same thoughts that I did about "BIG BROTHER" watching and trying to take over our lives. That kind of renews my faith in mankind.

Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions

*     *     (* = Required field)

    (Your email address will not be published)
(you may use HTML tags for style)

YES... spelling, punctuation, grammar and proper use of UPPER/lower case are important! Comments of a political nature are discouraged. Please limit your remarks to 3-4 paragraphs. If you want to see your comment posted, pay attention to these items.

All comments are reviewed, and may be edited or removed at the discretion of the moderator.

NOTE: Please, post comments on this article ONLY.
If you want to ask a question click here.

Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter

Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
About Us     Privacy Policy     RSS/XML

Article information: AskBobRankin -- Will Amazon Control Your Microwave and Your Car? (Posted: 25 Sep 2018)
Source: https://askbobrankin.com/will_amazon_control_your_microwave_and_your_car.html
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved