It seems like digital assistants are everywhere these days, but in reality, there are still many untapped products that they can jammed into. Just ask Amazon, the world's top e-commerce site, and the company behind Alexa. Amazon is apparently planning to unleash a barrage of new Alexa-enabled products, including a microwave.
Yes, you read that right, a microwave! It's not really as silly as it sounds. Rather than punching the defrost button or guessing at how long you should nuke your two slices of pepperoni pizza, we imagine an Alexa-enabled microwave would allow you to say something like, "Hey Alexa, reheat this leftover meatloaf," or something that effect.
In total, Amazon is said to be planning to release at least eight new Alexa-enabled gadgets. Beyond a microwave, Amazon is working on integrating its digital assistant into more audio devices, including an amplifier, receiver, and subwoofer. It also plans on giving some kind of in-car gadget the Alexa treatment. Some of these will have Alexa built-in from the get-go, others will be Alexa-enabled, meaning you can connect them to the voice assistant.
If true, this is a bold and aggressive move by Amazon. It remains to be seen if there will be widespread interest in having Alexa be a part of so many different devices. You have to think that Amazon must have done its research, though, as it did before introducing its Echo smart speaker several years ago. That proved to be a forward-thinking move that paid off.
Recent data published by Canalys shows that the smart speaker market grew by 187 percent in the second quarter of 2018, with shipments reaching a combined 16.8 million units, compared to 5.8 million units in the same quarter a year ago. Echo products accounted for 4.1 million of those shipments.
"We want customers to be able to use Alexa wherever they are," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in July. "There are now tens of thousands of developers across more than 150 countries building new devices using the Alexa Voice Service, and the number of Alexa-enabled devices has more than tripled in the past year."
It's worth noting that not everything Amazon releases becomes a huge hit. The company's track record in hardware is overall impressive, however, with products like Kindle, Fire tablet, and Fire TV all proving popular.