Alexa, More Popcorn, Please! Amazon Launches Voice Controlled Microwave

Ruben Fields
September 23, 2018

Rumors have been flying about since the middle of 2017 that Facebook is building a smart speaker with a large touchscreen to rival Amazon's Echo Show.

The latter connects to an Alexa-compatible device at home and Echo Auto will let drivers check in on friends or family, or perhaps let them know they've picked up dinner for later-phone calls are so 2008. Echo Plus has been priced at the same $149.99 and is up for pre-order now and will be shipped in October. You can get it in a pack with other Echo devices or on its own on Amazon right now.

From new Echo speakers to a smart wall clock - and even a smart microwave - Amazon announced products for all in a bid to showcase how far it has come from the first Amazon Echo speaker announced in 2014.

It's a microwave. This is only interesting for the simple fact that Amazon has finally taken a page from the Book of Obvious and integrated Alexa functionality into that which you use to reheat your leftovers. We'll see how the company pitches it to the public soon enough. But we're being a little harsh; subwoofers generally aren't that attractive and are generally hidden away, anyway.

Echo Auto is now only available for pre-order by innovation. This will save you the painstaking step of having to type in your enormous wifi password whenever you want to connect a new smart switch, for example.

The Echo Sub is an optional subwoofer for use with Echo speakers.

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"A second-generation Echo Show was announced, which is essentially an Echo Plus with a camera and 10.1" touchscreen. Otherwise, the only blemish on the exterior is for the power lead.

A new Echo Show device boasted twice the screen display area as its predecessor, and Fire TV Recast that acts as a digital recorder for traditional television broadcasts.

Amazon's entry-level Alexa speaker - the Echo Dot - always suffered from underwhelming audio drivers when compared to the competition. The new Echo Show is retailing for US$230. It's hard to judge if it was "room filling" because it was a vast demonstration area with several other setups.

Meanwhile, the $300 Echo Link Amp can connect to your existing stereo equipment. Privacy issues and concerns are believed to have caused a delayed launch of the Facebook Portal device. The device equally features a built-in Zigbee hub for easily connecting to smart home devices that use the Zigbee protocol just like the Echo Plus.

Overall though, the price of the Echo Sub means that it's hard to beat in terms of bang for buck. But if you're looking to buy a new system entirely it's worth considering a one-box system, too.

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