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20 September 2018, 01:15 | Antoinette Holland
Amazon reportedly plans to release a bunch of new Alexa-enabled devices this year — including a microwave
The internet giant is mulling the launch of eight new devices that can be controlled just by using your voice and its digital assistant technology, Alexa. This also expands Amazon's drive to make its Alexa voice technology widespread, especially in areas where people spend most of their time: at home and in a auto. Given the massive number of dash cams now on the market and Amazon's push into amplifiers and other audio products, the in-car gadget could possibly be a smart stereo instead.
The new devices reflect Amazon's ambition to make its Alexa voice technology ubiquitous by focusing on areas where people spend most of their time - at home and in the auto.
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The Amazon Echo Dot is an entry-level speaker, packing Alexa's core functionality into a low-priced, lightweight body. It's worth noting that the company launched an SDK to help auto makers integrate the assistant into their vehicle entertainment systems last month, so it may have had this in the works for quite some time.
More so than other virtual assistants including Siri and the Google Assistant, Amazon's Alexa has always been focused on the home. Developers who put the toolkit to work will be able to take advantage of four new features.
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Having its own home appliances also opens up a new sales channel for Amazon.
Meanwhile, additional details on these forthcoming smart appliances are extremely slim: CNBC cities only "an internal document" and "people familiar with the matter" before later stating that Amazon declined to comment. Sonos has a similar business model. Earlier this year, it partnered with home builder Lennar to include two Echo speakers in certain new homes and provide visits by Amazon technicians. All of them will be Alexa-enabled, however, some of them will have Alexa inbuilt, says the report. One ongoing criticism of Amazon's Echo, Dot and related smart speakers is that their sound quality isn't great, whereas smart speakers by Sonos Inc., Google LLC's Home Max and even Apple Inc.'s HomePod offer high-fidelity sound, though with a price to match.
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