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Amazon’s Alexa-enabled microwave hands-on: it cooks but does not speak • The Verge
Dieter Bohn:
<p>The way the Alexa integration works is pretty clever: when you set it up, it will get paired to your Alexa system as “the microwave,” and then you can command Alexa to, you know, cook stuff. There are very few buttons on the microwave because all the presets for various food types have been stored in Amazon’s cloud instead.

There is an Alexa button on the microwave, and it does two things: it turns on the microphone on one of your Echo speakers so you don’t have to use the “Alexa” wake word, and, more importantly, it sends a signal so that whatever you’re about to say will be in the context of controlling the microwave. For example, you can hit the button and just say “stop,” and it’ll stop the microwave. (How this is more efficient than just hitting the stop button is unclear.)

The fun feature is the popcorn, though. When you set it up for the first time, you’ll have an option to sign up for a subscription to buy microwave popcorn from Amazon. Then, as you pop it, Alexa will keep track of how many times you have said, “Alexa, make popcorn,” and it’ll reorder automatically when you’re running low. There’s also a popcorn button on the device.

Is all this worth $59.99? Sure, it’s a pretty dead-ahead 700W microwave after all. It’s black and boxy and simple. I don’t have a lot more to tell you about the hardware. It has a rotating tray on the inside. There are vents and a metal enclosure. It ships on November 14th.</p>

Bohn meets the ultimate gadget that is beyond the capabilities of tech reviewing. Whether it's secure... one has to hope so.
amazon  alexa  microwave 
yesterday by charlesarthur
Amazon Echo subwoofer and Alexa-capable smart plug may be on the way • Ars Technica
Valentina Palladino:
<p>Amazon seems to have given us a glimpse into some of its new, unreleased products. Listings on Amazon UK show a new Echo Sub, a subwoofer designed to work with Echo speakers, and a new Amazon Smart Plug, a socket adapter with Alexa capabilities, both with an availability date of October 11. Amazon has since removed the listings, but reports from Pocket-lint show images and details of the two new devices.

The Echo Sub looks like a fatter version of Amazon's Echo speaker, almost like a clone of Apple's HomePod. The wireless subwoofer includes a 6-inch down-firing woofer and 100W of bass, tech that would certainly improve the quality of existing Echo speakers. Some complained after Amazon released the updated version of the original Echo last year, claiming its sound quality was subpar.

Listed within the device's description is stereo pairing, a feature that hasn't been available to Echo speakers yet. Currently, users can only group multiple speakers together to fill a room with sound, but they won't get that rich, complex left/right stereo sound. It appears that will be possible with the Echo Sub connected to two compatible Echo devices.</p>

Stereo pairing and subwoofers are all becoming standard very rapidly: Sonos might have something to worry about. After years in which its combination of sound quality, streaming capability and variety set it apart, it's being caught up at the top and bottom by Apple and Amazon. Is there room for it in the middle?
amazon  echo  speakers 
yesterday by charlesarthur

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