Amazon Alexa Announcement: What We Know About the New Product Launches
Amazon is hosting a surprise hardware drop at its Seattle headquarters beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern. The e-commerce monolith is expected to unveil eight artificial intelligence-powered, voice assistant products akin to its Amazon Echo speakers.
Unfortunately, the event will not be live-streamed, per an Amazon spokesperson, but a few details have already leaked about what Amazon has in store and all signs are pointing to a smart home extravaganza.
Alexa will likely be the focus, and Amazon is specifically expected to roll out a smart microwave oven, and in-car attachment, and a loudspeaker, according to a report from CNBC.
Amazon is currently dominating the United States smart speaker market, taking up 61.9 percent of market share with Google, Apple, Sonos, and other, smaller companies making up the remaining 38.1 percent, according to a 2018 VoiceBot.ai Consumer Adoption and Attitudes report. These new products will likely try to expand the universe of connected devices even further (hence the microwave), but we’re also expecting some other curveballs as well. There are already a few smart microwaves on the market, which generally couple an LED touch-screen, some automation, and the ability to operate your microwave remotely.
This isn’t the first time Amazon caught the press and tech fans off guard with an unexpected product launch. Around the same time last year, the firm abruptly announced multiple updates to its Echo speaker in the form of the touch-screen touting Echo Spot, the Echo Plus, a fabric mesh speaker, the Echo Connect, and the Echo Buttons to let users game with Alexa.
What Is Amazon Announcing in 2018?
While Thursday’s event came as a surprise, some of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ recent comments have heavily hinted that a slew new smart home products were on the horizon.
“Our 2017 projections for Alexa were very optimistic, and we far exceeded them. We don’t see positive surprises of this magnitude very often — expect us to double down,” said Bezos during Amazon’s 2017 four quarter earnings call. “We’ve reached an important point where other companies and developers are accelerating adoption of Alexa. There are now over 30,000 skills from outside developers, customers can control more than 4,000 smart home devices from 1,200 unique brands with Alexa, and we’re seeing [a] strong response to our new far-field voice kit for manufacturers.”
This is another step towards Amazons plan to boxout the smart device market by migrating Alexa into kitchens, cars, and potentially other areas of people’s lives.