Amazon's Alexa can now tell microwaves how to cook

Muriel Hammond
January 5, 2018

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 United States so you could set up Alexa, Echo speakers or Amazon Music. They'll be among the first to use the new Smart Home Skill API's support for ovens, though it's worth noting that those talents won't be in the API initially.

Beyond that, Amazon plans to expand the API to support conventional ovens and other cooking devices.

But Amazon is cooking up another use for Alexa that could have far broader effects.

As users would use other Alexa devices, the Hisense Smart TVs will enable the user to perform various actions using only their voice.

Alexa now operates through Amazons' Echo and Echo Dot speakers and cooking requests will be made via these devices. It also might be useful for when you've put your food in the microwave and are reading the back of the box for directions, which you can then call out to Alexa as you find them. Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, your customers can now use their voices. Next up? Controlling your kitchen appliances starting with microwave ovens. For example, a user can say "Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken" or "Alexa, microwave for 50 seconds on high". The interfaces are designed for future extensibility as support for more cooking devices becomes available the company has revealed. GE Appliances, LG, Kenmore, and Samsung are all working on skills of their own. Whilst Amazon has a variety of vendor partners, it's not certain how rapidly support will roll out. Whirlpool has already created an Alexa skill that will let customers easily configure, start, and operate their connected microwaves with just their voice. "At Amazon, we believe that there will be an Alexa skill for everyone, for everything". While we mostly see such types of things in Si-Fi movies, Amazon and these companies are making it a reality.

The Fire TV Stick's biggest shortcoming is that it's still very US-centric.

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