Hisense To Install Amazon Alexa Into Its Smart TVs

Amazon Brings Cooking Controls To Alexa With Smart Home Skill API

Amazon's Alexa-powered devices Echo, Echo Dot and the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote were the retailer's No. 1 and No. 2 top-selling over the holidays products, respectively, Amazon said. As such the company is already offering its Echo lineup in different form factors.

Amazon's Fire TV Stick was the top-selling line of streaming-media players in the USA, U.K., Germany, and Japan on the site, with the site selling twice as many Fire TV Sticks this year vs. last year's holiday season. Now you can build skills to enable customers in the United States to control their microwave ovens using Alexa. Yes, you heard that right.

Both companies cut prices for the smallest version of their speakers, the Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini, to as little as $29 from $50 for the U.S. holidays. Not only does Alexa connect your voice with your TV, music, video and lights, but it is also connected to your kitchen now. Support for other cooking devices, such as conventional ovens, is coming soon.

Prices and availability aren't stated at this time.

Specifically, when you need to have something heated in the microwave or oven in the future, you could simply say, "Alexa, heat this on high for one minute".

Although Amazon has boasted of having 25,000 third-party voice skills for Alexa, developers still don't have a dependable way to make money on the platform. Users can leverage these interfaces today for microwaves and for appliances that support preset cooking. The skill enables customers to easily configure, start, and operate their connected Whirlpool microwaves. 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, LG, Kenmore, and Samsung are all working on skills of their own.

Amazon has also announced that the Alexa Fund, its venture capital arm, is investing in June Life, the company behind the connected June Oven.

The biggest limitation here is on the appliance side: even if you have a smart microwave or a smart oven - and most people don't - it also needs to be updated to support this feature.

All in all, this is an interesting development in the technology sphere.

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