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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

Amazon Alexa could now be in your car and protecting your home

Amazon has even imbued the power of Alexa into a microwave.

Alexa will be able to keep your home safe, take instructions in your car and even cook your food. Bloomberg
Alexa will be able to keep your home safe, take instructions in your car and even cook your food. Bloomberg

Amazon unveiled its vision for smart homes powered by the Alexa voice assistant on Thursday with a dizzying array of new gadgets and features - from a microwave oven to a security camera and wall clock.

The Seattle internet giant is pushing Alexa more deeply into customers’ lives, hoping to popularise technology that has yet to go mainstream and connecting people more to Amazon’s universe of things to buy.

The $50 (Dh183) Dot is one of Amazon’s best-selling devices, and with 70 percent better sound it’s going after audiophiles on Sonos' turf. Amazon also introduced a sub-woofer to go along with existing Echo products as well as a pair of amplifiers that work like audio control centres for the home.

The Echo speaker, with the Alexa voice assistant, debuted in 2014 and has maintained a lead over tech competitors Google and Apple, which have scrambled to catch up. About two-thirds of smart speaker users in the US will use an Amazon Echo this year, compared with less than 30 percent who will use a Google Home, according to EMarketer.

Alexa is also included in a new $60 AmazonBasics-branded microwave oven. For users who may be flummoxed by proper cook times on regular microwaves, now consumers can simply say “defrost peas” or “cook a baked potato” without having to figure out how long that will take.

Also new is the Alexa Guard, a home security product that can detect breaking glass as well as smoke or carbon dioxide and send an alert to your phone.

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Amazon is also going out to the garage with the Echo Auto, a $50 device that will bring Alexa capabilities to cars, accessing car speaker systems via bluetooth and using the driver’s smartphone to connect to the cloud. Features include voice commands such as asking "Alexa, where is the nearest Starbucks?" or requesting directions via voice command. Those with a dash-mounted smartphone can see the directions displayed as well as hear verbal directions, similar to GPS devices.

Global spending on smarthome devices such as speakers, thermostats and lights will hit $96 billion this year thanks to new gadgets from companies like Amazon, Alphabet’s Google, ADT, and Samsung Electronics, and falling prices, according to Strategy Analytics. About 40% of the spending will be in North America, Amazon’s primary market.