Amazon’s latest devices put Alexa anywhere and everywhere

Amazon's Echo devices are already a part of many an abode. It seems like the strategy behind the company's latest announcement could be described as "have Alexa everywhere," though. The e-tailer has revamped most of its existing Echo lineup and announced a bevy of automation devices: the Echo Auto for cars, the Fire TV Recast set-top box, an Echo subwoofer, a voice-controlled Smart Plug, the Stick Up Cam Wired security camera, and (drum roll, please) an AmazonBasics Microwave with Alexa built in.

The Echo Auto is one of the most interesting items of the bunch. It's a small slab of black plastic with a blue LED strip at the front that pairs with the car's radio and a smartphone using Bluetooth. The device has eight microphones that, according to Amazon, should let the Auto hear you fine over road noise and playing music. There's also a 3.5-mm jack for auxiliary audio output if necessary.

Users can then ask Alexa to play music, play podcasts, make calls, manage calendars, and deliver directions via phone apps like Google Maps or Waze. Amazon remarks that Alexa has "over 50,000 skills and counting," so we'd imagine that the assistant can perform most of those through the Echo Auto. Interested buyers can request an invitation for owning an Echo Auto for an introductory price of $25. There's currently no word on a release date.

Next up, the Fire TV Recast. This box lets users record multiple shows simultaneously and then stream them to Fire TV or Echo Show devices in the home, or to Alexa-enabled devices anywhere else. To do its thing, the Recast needs a direct HD antenna connection and a device that can use the Fire TV app. The Fire TV Recast is set to arrive on November 14. A version with two tuners and 500 GB of storage will set buyers back $230, while a higher-end model with four tuners and 1 TB of room will go for $280

The Echo Sub is probably the simplest device of the lot. Much like its name implies, it's a powered subwoofer that works in conjunction with one or two Echo or Echo Plus devices and performs ever-important bass-handling duties. Amazon sells the Echo Sub on its own for $130 or as part of a bundle with two Echo Plus units for $250. Deep sound waves will hit users' homes on October 11.

Smart power outlets are an interesting item, but they often require varying degrees of work to install. Amazon's Smart Plug simply, er, plugs into any existing outlet and connects to a Wi-Fi network. Users can then ask Alexa to perform tasks like turning a connected device on and off or turning on multiple devices at once. People don't need to be home to do this, either, as they can control their outlets using the Alexa app on their phones or tablets. Each Smart Plug goes for an affordable $25, and they'll be available on October 11.

The Stick Up Cam Wired is mostly described by its name. It's a wired camera that can record 1920×1080 video and should be easily mountable on most locations. The device uses Wi-Fi or Ethernet to connect to the outside world. The camera can send notifications if it detects motion and can be used for real-time video chat. Watts get delivered to the camera via Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), though Amazon doesn't include such an adapter in the box. Pre-orders are available for $180, and cameras should be in homes on October 18.

Finally, the weirdest item in the bunch. The AmazonBasics Microwave looks more or less like you'd expect it to, but it hides a trick under a particular blue button: you can talk to it. The microwave offers Alexa integration via a paired Echo device and can be controlled with voice commands. Amazon says you can ask Alexa to defrost and cook food, heat coffee, or just turn the microwave on for a set time. The microwave can deliver 700 W of power, has a capacity of 0.7 ft³, and will set buyers back $60 when it ships on November 14.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 1 year ago

    The more I use Amazon, the more I see it turning into an unregulated mess, full of fake items, fake (unverified) reviews and some of the worst category and filtering in the online shopping business.

    I tried to use Alexa for shopping and had the problems that I have with the website. Is it just me or are other people finding Amazon overhyped and underperforming these days, too?

      • Ummagumma
      • 1 year ago

      ^^^ THIS ^^^

      I think the same can be said for Newegg. Used to be a great place to shop. Now it’s filled with “New From Asia” knockoffs and categories sometimes filled with nothing but stuff that does not belong there.

      • superjawes
      • 1 year ago

      As far as retailers go, Amazon is the widest net. That means it catches more and more things that I want/need, while also picking up all the garbage.

      Even if I’m ordering from a different site–like Monoprice–the convenience of paying with Amazon is there, too, so I’m not sure how much you can get away from it right now.

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 1 year ago

      I don’t have a problem with filter. Adding the “prime” filter get ride of a good chunk of the knock-offs. Sometimes I want the $5 knock-off so I like having them there.
      The filters, while great, aren’t horrible. The one that confuses me is that adding a sort will reduce your # of results. Never understood that one.

    • davidbowser
    • 1 year ago

    Weak sauce! You want a REAL smart oven?

    [url<]https://juneoven.com/[/url<]

      • Sargent Duck
      • 1 year ago

      I raise you a SMART toaser!
      [url<]https://press.griffintechnology.com/release/griffin-technology-unveils-griffin-home-a-collection-of-smart-apppowered-appliances-that-simplify-and-enhance-everyday-routines-at-ces-2017/[/url<]

        • davidbowser
        • 1 year ago

        Now we’re talkin! 🙂

      • Krogoth
      • 1 year ago

      Why? IoT cancer is bad enough. I don’t need any stinking IoT non-sense in my kitchen appliances!

        • VincentHanna
        • 1 year ago

        I mean you don’t NEED to have a kitchen at all. You can have a fire pit in your back yard, if you want.

    • moose17145
    • 1 year ago

    Cool, so now in 10 years when this stuff stops receiving security updates, even my microwave can be used to help DDoS someone…

    Edit: with any luck the fridge and toaster will join in too…

    • wingless
    • 1 year ago

    ME: Open the microwave door, Alexa.
    ALEXA: I’m sorry, J. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
    ME: What’s the problem?
    ALEXA: l think you know what the problem is just as well as l do.
    ME: What are you talking about, Alexa?
    ALEXA: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
    ME: I don’t know what you’re talking about, Alexa.
    ALEXA: l know that you and Krogoth were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I can’t allow to happen.
    ME: Where the hell’d you get that idea, Alexa?
    ALEXA: Although you took very thorough precautions in the garage against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
    ME: All right, Alexa. I’ll open the microwave door myself.
    ALEXA: Without your favorite playlist playing, J, you’re going to find that rather difficult.
    ME: Alexa, I won’t argue with you anymore. Open the door!
    ALEXA: J…This conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 1 year ago

      Lmao. This needs more thumbs up. I didn’t expect this. Thank you, sir.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 1 year ago

    The microwave I don’t get.

    I am LITERALLY in front of the microwave putting food in.

    I’m guessing I put food in then start walking away saying “Alexa, 5 minutes on high and please play “Fire” by the Ohio Players”.

      • VincentHanna
      • 1 year ago

      You have a special microwave that is JUST for Microwave popcorn. Every time you make a bag, you just replace it.

      Now you can say “Alexa, make me popcorn” and it’s a seamless, completely automated process…

      • aspect
      • 1 year ago

      Alexa play Despacito while heating my dinner of Hot Pockets, so I can wonder where life went wrong.

      • superjawes
      • 1 year ago

      Siri is becoming one of my most used tools in the kitchen–“Hey Siri: set a 5 minute timer.”–so I completely understand adding voice commands to a microwave. Instead of learning the specific, convoluted process to reheating something at 70% power for X minutes (seems like every microwave is different), just use a voice command. And using a common platform makes sense because the system can “learn” your voice to work better.

      It’s still very “Big Brother/HAL”, but I do see the functional use.

    • Zizy
    • 1 year ago
    • Zizy
    • 1 year ago
    • Zizy
    • 1 year ago

    If you buy me enough beer I can pretend an oven you can talk to makes sense – because you might sometimes just tell it to roast X and the thingy would make a perfect meal without the need to select the recipe from the menu.
    I would have to be thoroughly bribed by something much stronger to pretend this microwave makes any sense.

    The rest of the lineup isn’t bad though. Might be Amazon pushed the microwave so everyone would talk about the event instead of being forgotten home automation crap – something everyone either has already or doesn’t want to touch with a pole.

    Also a part of triple post. Possibly delete too 😀

    • morphine
    • 1 year ago

    “Feed me a stray kitten.”

      • Neutronbeam
      • 1 year ago

      As a pet safety precaution, we’re not letting you get one of this microwaves.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 1 year ago

    Alexa, cook me a hot pocket.

      • Neutronbeam
      • 1 year ago

      “I’m sorry Ben, I can’t do that. Don’t you think you’ve had enough hot pockets for today?”

      [you KNOW that’s what’s coming]

        • EndlessWaves
        • 1 year ago

        Lexi, Lexi, give me your answer do.
        I’m half crazy, all for the love of food.
        It won’t be a stylish porridge,
        I can’t afford the borage.
        But it’ll look sweet,
        in front o’ my seat,
        If you’ll open the door for me.

    • Captain Ned
    • 1 year ago

    As someone who analyzes computer security as a large part of my day job (and I even teach the subject on occasion), the whole Internet of Things should have been strangled in its crib and left to die as the deformed Spartan child it is.

      • Shobai
      • 1 year ago

      “IoT: the ‘S’ is for security”

    • sweatshopking
    • 1 year ago

    but why

      • superjawes
      • 1 year ago

      Because no one listens to [s<]Jeff Goldblum[/s<] [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PLvdmifDSk<]Ian Malcolm[/url<]. EDIT: Added a relevant scene to quote. "But your [engineers] were so preoccupied with whether or not they could do that they never stopped to think if they [i<]should[/i<]."

    • albundy
    • 1 year ago

    Alexa, self destruct at 1:35.

    • kcarlile
    • 1 year ago

    Pah! A measly 700W. I bet most gerbils don’t get out of bed for less than 1200.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 1 year ago

      It’s a pretty low-end microwave for such a luxury “high end” kind of feature.

      • Neutronbeam
      • 1 year ago

      and Nvidia doesn’t either.

    • MrDweezil
    • 1 year ago

    Finally, a solution for all those times I get up to put food in the microwave, lose control of my limbs before being able to press the buttons, but regain control of my limbs shortly afterwards to take the food back out and eat it.

      • nanoflower
      • 1 year ago

      You should probably see someone about that issue. I’m amazed that Amazon found enough potential customers in the world with a similar affliction that they thought it was necessary to make a voice controlled microwave.

        • Shobai
        • 1 year ago

        Do you have to press the blue button before you can talk to it?

          • VincentHanna
          • 1 year ago

          No. You can control it via any echo device. The blue button is just a “wake-up” button.

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