Amazon will release new Alexa-enabled devices, which include a microwave, an amplifier, and an in-car gadget, this year.
According to CNBC, Amazon is working on at least eight voice-controlled hardware devices, which include a microwave oven, a receiver, an amplifier, a subwoofer, and an in-car gadget. The company is also reportedly planning to release these devices before the end of this year.
“Amazon is expected to reveal some of these devices at an event later this month, according to an internal document describing the plans,” CNBC said.
All the devices can easily connect to Alexa since these are all enabled to work with the voice assistant. Some of the devices have Alexa built in.
Amazon has long been interested in a connected home. The move reflects the company’s ambition to make its voice assistant ubiquitous, particularly in areas where consumers tend to spend a lot of their time.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos earlier stated how the company wants to give customers the ability to use Alexa wherever they are.
The amplifier may serve as a central audio panel that can control multiple speakers set up across the home. The microwave, on the other hand, will make Alexa a key part of the kitchen.
It isn’t clear if the new devices will be branded under the Echo line. If this is the case, the company may introduce a new line of smart appliances that is distinct from its Echo line and is more focused on the Alexa branding.
The launch of the products will also mark Amazon’s move into the field of home appliances, which places it in the league of companies such as GE and Sonos. The two companies already have devices that work with Alexa. Sonos has Alexa-enabled amplifier and subwoofer, while GE has a smart microwave that users can connect and control using Alexa.
The expansion into the hardware category will also significantly heat up the smart home market already filled with Alexa-powered devices that either offer Amazon’s voice assistant exclusively, or as an option along with Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant.
In an earnings report released in July, Bezos said that the number of Alexa-enabled devices has increased more than threefold in the past year.
“Our partners are creating a wide variety of new Alexa-enabled devices and experiences, including soundbars from Polk and Sonos; headphones from Jabra; smart home devices from ecobee and First Alert; Windows 10 PCs from Acer, HP, and Lenovo; and cars from automakers including BMW, Ford, and Toyota,” he said.