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The world could have an Alexa-enabled microwave before 2018 is finished—yes, a microwave. According to a by CNBC, Amazon may be gearing up to reveal up to eight new Alexa devices before the end of this year. Among those could be a microwave oven, a subwoofer, an amplifier, and an “in-car gadget.” CNBC‘s report claims that an internal Amazon document points at the online retailer revealing some or all of these devices at an event scheduled for later this month.
All of the rumored devices would have built in, or have easy access to the virtual assistant (likely over an Internet connection). While the microwave oven would be new, Amazon has already partnered with companies like to make Alexa-enabled amplifiers and other audio equipment. The company also partnered with Garmin recently to make the , a dash cam that connects to Alexa for in-car voice commands.
It‘s unclear if the new devices will consist solely of collaborations between Amazon and other tech manufacturers, or if all of the devices will be made and sold by Amazon. The company‘s Echo family has grown a lot since the first Echo speaker debuted in 2014. Around this time last year, Amazon revealed the newest members of the Echo family: the .
If the new devices are made and sold by Amazon, they would be in direct competition with similar devices made by Sonos and Garmin. But the competition likely doesn‘t scare Amazon—on the contrary, the retail giant wants to have its voice assistant available in as many products as possible. The more in-house products and partnerships Amazon can score for Alexa, the better.
More so than other virtual assistants including Siri and the Google Assistant, Amazon‘s Alexa has always been focused on the home. When the first Echo debuted, many scoffed at the idea of having a home speaker with virtual assistant. Now, just a few years later, consumers have embraced other Alexa-enabled household devices including smart thermostats, TVs, door locks, vacuums, and security cameras.
It may seem ridiculous to have a microwave with a virtual assistant built-in, but it represents the natural progression of technology like Alexa. Amazon is targeting customers where they feel most comfortable and spend the most time—at home and in their cars.
While many relish the convenience that Alexa holds, others remain concerned about having an always-listening device in their homes. Problems with the virtual assistant range from coming from Echo speakers to Alexa and sending it in a message to a . More problems like these could arise as Alexa infiltrates more devices and more spaces in users‘ lives.