Amazon has announced a new Echo Wall clock and an Alexa-enabled microwave oven, alongside a host of new Echo speakers, during a surprise event on September 20.
The Echo Wall Clock has Alexa voice controls built-in, enabling users to set timers and alarms that’ll be illuminated with an LED around the edge of the clock face as time ticks down.
Given these are two of the most-frequented features on Echo speakers per se, Amazon is probably correct in its belief they’ll find a dedicated home on a standalone device that’ll hang in user’s kitchens and living spaces.
As an added bonus, Amazon says the clock will automatically alter itself a couple of times a year to account for British Summer Time and Greenwich Mean Time (or Daylight Savings as it’s known in the United States).
Amazon is only planning to charge $30 for the Echo Wall Clock when it goes on sale in the US later this year. We’re yet to receive word on whether the product will launch in the UK, or at what cost.
As for the Alexa-based microwave, it’s being branded under the AmazonBasics brand, which is a no-frills product line known for its affordability. That’ll explain the $59.99 price tag for the device when it ships later this year. Again, UK price and availability is unknown. Pre-orders in the US start today.
During the event in Seattle, Amazon said the microwave had been stuck in the 1970s, forcing the company to update it for the 21st century smart home. In this regard, perhaps the most fun feature is the integration of a Dash Replenishment Service that’ll reorder popcorn when you pop your last bag.
A company spokesperson explained to us how the service works: “You can set up Auto Popcorn Replenishment with Dash Replenishment through the Alexa app. During the setup process, choose the popcorn and pack size you’d like to reorder from brands like Orville, Act II, Pop Secret and Jolly Time. Once you’ve signed up, just make popcorn using your voice or by pressing the Popcorn button and Amazon takes care of the rest.”
The appliance doesn’t have full Alexa integration though; it’ll require a nearby Echo in order for you to make cooking commands with your voice.
Those with a penchant for effortless cooking will be able to say “Alexa, one potato” or “Alexa, add 30 seconds to cooking” without getting up and pressing a button. The company says there are “dozens of quick-cook voice presets.” If you’re close-by, there’s also a built-in Ask Alexa button for interaction with the assistant.
The company has also revealed an own-branded Amazon Smart Plug that’ll add on/off voice controls to any gadget in your home. The $25 offering stands out from the competition because it offers plug-and-play functionality for those already rocking an Echo device at home.
Will you be grabbing the Alexa-powered microwave and Wall Clock? Is Amazon taking this whole thing just a little too far? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.