Amazon Alexa will soon control microwave ovens

Amazon is making it easier to bring Alexa to devices like headphones and smartwatches

"At CES 2018, we have planned several panel and workshop sessions, as well as smart home and offline activations just outside of the Las Vegas Convention Center", Amazon wrote in a blog post last month. Up until now, smart speakers were too expensive and connecting them to other smart devices was a confusing process.

"Customers are increasingly using voice user interfaces as a hands-free way to manage their lives, and hands-free control is especially valuable when cooking", Mass wrote to developers. Going forward, those customers will be able to use shorter, simpler voice commands when using Alexa to control their oven, and receive updates on their food as it's cooking. Like smart light bulbs, or a smart thermostat, or a smart security camera, or smart plugs to make your regular old non-internet-connected devices smarter.

Amazon is said to be in discussions with major brands about ad placements on Echo devices, which are powered by the company's voice-activated digital assistant, Alexa. You might need to dive into your Amazon Prime settings and set your country to Australia if you've previously tricked it into thinking you're in the U.S. so you could set up Alexa, Echo speakers or Amazon Music. "Amazon has hinted in the past that it will launch a paid search ad product for Alexa, but sources said that the latest talks show the e-commerce giant is preparing to make a serious run at the ad market as early as this year". Next up? Controlling your kitchen appliances starting with microwave ovens. You might, for example, tell Alexa to set the microwave for 3 minutes or ask Alexa to preheat the oven to 300 degrees. GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG and Samsung are also creating microwave ovens with Alexa skills.

The new feature, called Flash Briefing, is easily set up after downloading the Amazon Alexa app on an iOS or Android device. We're in full-blown, this-is-a-real-product-category and you should start paying attention to what's happening in this space because things are about to get really interesting. These new capabilities are made possible through Amazon's Smart Home Skill API. We don't want Microwaves or ovens blowing up or catching on fire.

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