AFD News: Alexa everywhere: cars, kitchens, clocks…and socks

AFD News: Alexa everywhere: cars, kitchens, clocks…and socks

September 22, 2018 (AFD News)

Pat Burlington

When Amazon recently announced a wide variety of new Alexa hardware, many people were surprised by items like the AmazonBasics Microwave 700W Works with Alexa (at AmazonSmile*). This was a very different approach from creating Smart Speakers. Here was a household device, already present in nearly 98% of USA homes. Amazon has introduced their device, hypothetically competing with companies which have been in this market for decades. What makes Amazon’s otherwise typical appliance stand out?

You can talk to it.

Not directly: this is an Alexa accessory. It doesn’t contain Alexa, it responds to Alexa. You won’t be able to ask your microwave to turn on your garage light or show you The Man in the High Castle. You ask it to cook, and it cooks.

This represents an important new category: people will buy something they might have bought anyway, and then use an Alexa-device to control it. It’s using the mundane to move people into the future (and for Jeff Bezos, that future is the Amazon universe).

While they didn’t feature it during the presentation, this writer thinks that the best example is the new Alexa socks, “Aleksocks”.

Just like the microwave, this doesn’t mean you’ll be speaking to your shoe a la Maxwell Smart. The socks have a heating and cooling element in them. You’ll be able to say to your Echo, “Alexa, my feet are cold”, and your socks will warm you up. Eventually, with the newly announced Alexa Hunches functionality, Alexa will be able to suggest that you might like your socks turned on, and perhaps do it automatically based on a reading from your Alexa-powered thermostat and your past preferences.

Amazon did not make Aleksocks available for pre-order, or provide a specific release date beyond “…in the coming months”.

While this may not be the wearable people thought Amazon would develop at some time, it is a move in that direction.

Note: this post is (an admittedly pretty subtle) joke. 🙂 Amazon did not announce Alexa-enabled socks at the recent event, which I wrote about here: Amazon’s Announce-A-Palooza 2018! I was just intrigued and amused by Amazon really diversifying the offerings, and tried to think of something a bit silly. If they do announce them at some point, though, I’ll undoubtedly remind you that I wrote this post. 😉

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amaz on site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

4 Responses to “AFD News: Alexa everywhere: cars, kitchens, clocks…and socks”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    Has Amazon changed its shipping contracts for Prime members? I had an item in my cart on Thursday that I was considering purchasing. When I checked shipping details, their “two day” delivery date was for Tuesday. For extra, I could get it on Saturday, but there was no option for Sunday or Monday. Monday is not a postal holiday, and this was not from a third part seller, so I was confused.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      I’m not aware of any change. Two days is the shipping time…not the time from when you order to when you get it. Not everything is on-hand…some things take some time for them to get before they ship it. I don’t think that’s necessarily always obviously third party.

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I think instead of Alexa talking to your socks, turn it around and have your socks talk back: “Hey Buddy, it’s getting a little smelly down here — time for a change, or maybe a shower?”.
    “Hey Buddy, You’re killing me, take a load off — socks need a rest too you know”


    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      While that might be useful (and funny), it doesn’t parallel Amazon’s clock and microwave. That was my inspiration and sort of my point…Amazon is now making devices which don’t have Alexa onboard, but can be controlled by Alexa.

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