Amazon Alexa now controls your microwave

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Amazon has just announced that it is adding microwave and oven control features to its smart assistant.

The functions won't work with existing microwaves and ovens, so manufacturers will have to build new smart ovens to support Alexa. This means users will be able to utilize Alexa to do things like control volume and change inputs with different voice controls.

The Seattle-based company will be certainly noticeable at this year's show, primarily via Alexa, its fast-growing voice technology platform that powers the company's Echo devices. The company says the HomePod should arrive in early 2018; however, at a price much higher than any of Amazon's Echo devices, it may struggle to gain market share. Now you can build skills to enable customers in the USA to control their microwave ovens using Alexa.

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

First, the updated Smart Home Skill API will support microwave ovens.

Amazon has also announced that the Alexa Fund, its venture capital arm, is investing in June Life, the company behind the connected June Oven. "Cooking capabilities will also be available in other countries soon", Amazon has stated. Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, your customers can now use their voices.

Aside from TV controls, users will be able to access as they would an Alexa enabled smart speaker.

Whirlpool has already created an Alexa skill through Amazon's Smart Home Skill toolkit that will enable its to-be-launched microwaves to take cooking instructions such as "heat for 50 seconds" from the voice assistant. GE Appliances, LG, Kenmore, and Samsung are all working on skills of their own. While 2017 has been a banner year for smart speakers in terms of hardware sales, especially for Google and Amazon, smart speakers in 2018 will move beyond hardware, with strategic attempts to monetize the growing installed base in the U.S. and beyond.

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

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