The shift from conventional devices to their “smart” equivalent has seen another contribution — this time in the new AmazonBasics Microwave. What separates the latest iteration of this appliance from past models is its compatibility with Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant.
With a focus on consumer convenience, Amazon designed the microwave with a simplified interface. Voice activation has eliminated the need for manual input, a streamlined solution that appeals to those already familiar with the technology. Operating the device is as simple as pressing an “Ask Alexa” button.
The presets for different food types and their protocol exist in Amazon’s cloud database. When a person activates the Alexa button and issues their request, their speech is processed and matched with the corresponding function. It’s as easy as that, with no additional participation necessary.
When installing their AmazonBasics Microwave for the first time, consumers have the option to pay for a regular popcorn subscription. The device records how many times they’ve said, “Alexa, make popcorn,” and sends an order for more when they begin to run low. This has similarities to their dash button service.
Interest in Amazon’s Alexa Technology
While the idea of a voice-activated microwave doesn’t represent an incredible leap forward in modern technology — and its necessity is arguable — the integration of Alexa into everyday household appliances shows promise for future products. Interest in the system and its applications is likely to grow.
More than offering a microwave, Amazon offers a successful example of its Alexa Connection Kit. The module that allows for the AmazonBasics Microwave includes their new Real Time OS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and more. Linking it with other appliances is not only possible but easy to accomplish.
The longstanding fantasy of the House of Tomorrow continues to creep closer, and Amazon intends to capitalize on the growing trend of voice-enabled speakers. According to a report by Juniper Research, this technology will reach over half of all households in the United States. The time to invest is now.
The popularity of the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Sonos One reflects the country’s fascination with digital assistants. What began with Siri has continued to expand into a profitable industry with billions of dollars of potential revenue for companies that develop new ways to implement the software.
As of now, the AmazonBasics Microwave has a $59.99 price tag — inexpensive, but still slightly above the cost of low-tier models. Its utilitarian design won’t win any awards, but integration with Alexa might provide enough of a unique selling point to convince consumers into giving the device a try.
The microwave is essentially a way for the company to get their foot in the door. By introducing an example of an appliance with Alexa compatibility to homeowners, they’ll be far more receptive to any additional devices advertised down the line. It opens them up to a new network of products.
Additions to the Amazon Marketplace
Amazon has announced an analog wall clock, security system and DVR that connect to the Alexa system as part of “70 new devices, customer features and developer tools.” In addition to these items, they intend to sell a $25 smart plug that can connect Alexa with any home appliance.
The AmazonBasic Microwave is set to ship on November 14. It may seem like a small step now, but this release indicates a steady forward march that shows no sign of slowing. Voice-activation is beginning to become an expected feature of today’s technology, and modern devices appear lacking without it.
Prepare to see significant changes in the standard U.S. household and the prevalence of Amazon products.