Amazon’s Alexa is the most well-known virtual voice assistant in the world, with just under 70% of smart speaker users in the US expected to use an Echo speaker by 2021.
The popularity of the voice assistant is due in large part to the sheer number of functions it can perform. Alexa can control smart home devices, set calendar reminders, and even make phone calls. There are plenty of third-party wireless speaker and smart home device manufacturers who have added the voice assistant to their own products, so it’s not just Amazon’s own devices.
While it may appear that adding Alexa to a smart speaker is a no-brainer, the AI assistant’s abilities have been applied to a variety of odd devices. Alexa is everywhere, from dancing teddy bears to washing machines, and a new influx of Alexa devices could be coming to your smart home soon.
Amazon has announced that its annual hardware and services event will take place on September 28 at 9 a.m. PST / 12 p.m. EST / 5 p.m. BST – or 2 a.m. AEST on September 29 in Australia.
We’ve looked back at the strangest devices to get Alexa compatibility in the run-up to the big event, where we could see new Echo speakers as well as upgrades to Amazon Music, Prime Video, and Amazon Luna.
Amazon Basics Alexa Microwave
Amazon’s smart microwave can only be used in conjunction with a separate Echo speaker. The microwave has an Ask Alexa button that you can press to tell it what’s cooking – Amazon has a number of cooking presets, so you can ask it to reheat coffee or cook one potato, for example.
The microwave, which retailed for $59.99 (approximately £45 / AU$80), appears to have been discontinued – at least, it isn’t available on Amazon at the time of writing. The Alexa microwave added a voice option to make cooking accessible to those who are unable to operate regular buttons.
Amazon Echo Wall Clock
Having Alexa work with a clock appears to be a good idea; after all, one of the most frequently asked questions of the voice assistant is, “What is the time?” Having that physically represented in the Amazon Echo Wall Clock makes sense.
It has a 10-inch clock face with 60 LEDs that light up to indicate timers set on a paired Echo device, and is priced at $29.99 / £29.99 / AU$49. Unfortunately, the clock doesn’t have any microphones or speakers, so you’ll have to use a separate Alexa speaker to give commands.
Sharp Smart Works with Alexa range
Sharp’s kitchen range, which was unveiled at CES 2019, includes a 75-liter oven, a four-door fridge/freezer, a smart dishwasher, and a 10-kg washing machine, all of which support Alexa commands.
Its set of abilities includes 22 specialized stain-busting programs, including a dedicated chocolate cleaning option that is sure to appeal to parents.
Gemmy Twerking Bear
This is where things start to get a little silly. The Gemmy Twerking Bear does exactly what it says on the tin, swaying to the beat of your Amazon Music playlists. When you ask Alexa a question, it will respond by moving its animatronic lips, as if Alexa is residing within its very soul. The Gemmy Twerking Bear isn’t content with just dancing to music; he also grooves when an Alexa timer, alarm, reminder, or notification is triggered.