According to a CNBC report, Amazon plans on releasing at least eight new Alexa powered devices by the end of year, including a microwave oven.
If true, it would mark a turn in Amazon’s strategy and move the company further up the stack and into creating a more end-to-end hardware solution. In addition to embedding Alexa into everyone else’s appliance, it would start making its own.
CNBC writes that this would be Amazon’s first move into home appliances. While it would be the first one to actually hit the market if true, we know that Amazon has at least been thinking about its own smart refrigerator. So the company making its own microwave isn’t that much of a stretch.
Without any more information, it’s hard to tell whether an Alexa powered microwave would be a good thing for consumers. GE recently came out with an Alexa-enabled microwave that lets you control it with your voice. But microwaves are pretty surgical appliances. You set the time to cook, usually for short bursts numbering in seconds and minutes, and the device shuts itself off afterwards. I don’t see a lot of need to bark orders at it.
What an Alexa-powered microwave would do, however, is start to shut Google and its voice assistant out of your smart home equation. If Amazon can sell you a cheap enough microwave through its massive retail platform, it gains a foothold into your kitchen that Google can’t get to. And if the Alexa microwave has the same scan-to-cook technology as the GE microwave, Amazon would know what you’re cooking and when, and oh hey! Why don’t we have Whole Foods deliver that frozen meal to you as well. It’s not a big leap in logic to think if an Alexa microwave sold well, it could expand into more Alexa appliances that all talk to each other (and you) but not to Google — denying the search giant all that juicy user data.
In addition to the microwave, Amazon is supposedly working on an amplifier, a receiver, a subwoofer and an “in-car gadget.”