10 unexpected places you will find Alexa this year

Alexa may have dominated the smart speaker space in 2016, but this year, you're going to see (and hear) Amazon's voice assistant in a lot of new and unexpected places.

So far, we've seen Amazon's Alexa pop up in a few unusual places, like your web browser, smartphone apps or smartwatches. But the voice assistant platform showed up in a big way at the Consumer Electronics Show this year and stole the show.

It's time to stop thinking of Alexa as just the brains of a speaker and more as an omnipresent system that's about to further infiltrate your home, car, pockets and ears. Here are seven places you can expect to see Alexa later this year.

Editors' note: Originally published January 9, 2017, this article has been updated to include new devices and services that will include Alexa.

Car

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Alexa could be your digital buddy on your next road trip.

Wayne Cunningham/CNET

To be fair, though by less official means, Alexa has already made its way into the car. With the original Echo Dot or Amazon Tap and a hotspot, you could easily take Alexa for a spin in the car.

However, both Ford and Volkswagen plan to incorporate Alexa into the infotainment systems in the dashes of upcoming cars. Such integration will allow users to lock and unlock their car using their voice, honk the horn, get status updates on the vehicle and more, as well as all of the standard functions of Alexa.

In addition to Ford and Volkswagen, INRIX will also be integrating Alexa into its OpenCar platform.

TVs

The Amazon Fire TV system is getting built right into some televisions in 2017, no box or streaming stick required.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

With Google Assistant's integration with Chromecast, it was only a matter of time before Amazon made Alexa play more nicely with televisions and its Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. Seiki, Westinghouse and Element will be offering televisions with the Fire TV system built-in, as well as remotes with microphones to interact with Alexa.

Also, Dish announced that it's Hopper DVR boxes will come with voice-controlled channel surfing, powered by none other than Alexa. When these Alexa-powered Hopper DVR boxes land sometime in the first half of 2017, you will be able to search for specific shows, movies and actors using your voice. You will also be able to navigate the channel guide or jump to specific channels without lifting a finger.

Appliances

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Out of food? You can buy more using the Alexa assistant that is built inside of LG's fridge.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Several appliances come with support for Alexa through skills or IFTTT Applets. You can turn on the oven, brew coffee and check on the status of your dishwasher's cycle.

LG, however, is taking a different approach by putting Alexa in its Smart InstaView Refrigerator. That means, not only will you be able to check in on the refrigerator, you will be able to order groceries, create a shopping list and control your smart home from the refrigerator itself.

Thermostats

We've come to expect Alexa to control your smart home devices, but the latest thermostat from Ecobee, the Ecobee4, is the first smart thermostat to come with Alexa built-in. It has all the normal smart thermostat functions, but instead of simply integrating with Alexa, it is an Alexa speaker.

The Ecobee4 will be be available on May 15 for $249 (£192.08 or AU$336.22).

Light fixtures

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Karen Ollis/GE

Another smart home device to come bearing Amazon's Alexa is the GE Sol, a smart table lamp. The Sol will come with full Alexa support, meaning it will give you access to over 10,000 skills and any commands that work with a standard Alexa speaker. But being directly integrated with Alexa will give it some additional tricks, such as lighting up to show analog time around the light ring when you ask for the time.

The Sol will retail for $200 (£154.28 or AU$270.06) when it launches in September.

Phones

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Alexa will ship as part of an upcoming Huawei phone.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

While Alexa has existed on both Android and iOS in an array of third-party applications, Huawei is the first to build Alexa directly into a phone's software with the Mate 9 ($595.00 at Android Enjoyed). You will be able to access Alexa on the Mate 9 as you would Siri on an iPhone or Google Assistant on a Pixel, and you will be able to order pizzas, call an Uber, control your smart home and anything else you typically do with an Alexa speaker.

And if you happen to have a bunch of devices to charge at night, the Dok Talk will charge up to five USB devices, act as a Bluetooth speaker and it has a button on the top which will queue up Alexa.

Amazon Shopping app

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Back in March, Amazon updated the Amazon Shopping app for iOS. The update replaced the standard voice search with Alexa, making it possible to stream audiobooks or music, ask for weather or news and use a number of skills, all while using the Amazon app.

Just tap the microphone button to the right of the search bar and speak to the phone as you would any Alexa speaker. You can control smart home devices, ask Alexa to tell you joke or ask for tracking updates for your packages. Currently, Alexa is only available in the Amazon app on iOS and no word was given on whether it will come to the Android app.

Headphones

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Using these headphones, you can talk to Alexa and no one else will hear it respond.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Taking the voice assistant integration one step further is Sensory, the company behind the hands-free voice control software found on some Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Instead of embedding Alexa into a device in your pocket, it's integrating it into one you stick in your ear. It's calling the technology VoiceGenie, which will allow you to access Alexa (and other voice assistant services like Siri, Google Assistant or Cortana) through Bluetooth headphones.

Similarly, the ONvocal OV, which looks like a mashup of LG Tones and the Plantronics Voyager of yore, is a set of earbuds with Alexa built-in that sell for $399 (£307.78 or AU$538.77).

Baby monitors

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Hey Alexa... I mean... Aristotle.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

If it makes perfect sense to embed a voice assistant in a speaker, it makes just as much -- if not more -- to embed that same assistant in a baby monitor. That's exactly what Nabi did with the Aristotle.

This baby monitor will lull your child to sleep, log wet diapers and feedings, automatically order more diapers or other supplies, play games and interact with your kid, read children's books and much more. On top of that, it's a fully-functioning Amazon Alexa speaker that works exactly as you would expect it to.

While the Aristotle is powered by Alexa, it also has a secondary assistant, which you summon by saying "Aristotle."

Robots

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Alexa now has a face, arms and a body thanks to robots like this.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Thanks to the Ubtech Robotics Lynx, Alexa has sprouted arms, legs and a face. You can interact with the humanoid how you could normally with Alexa, but using cameras, it can recognize your face or give you a remote view of your home.

The Hubble Hugo, while also a robotic version of Alexa, wears many hats. It can act as a baby monitor, reading your child's emotions and playing a song to soothe them. With motion detection, 360-degree camera rotation and expandable storage, it works as a security camera, as well.

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